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VOL. 1 



Group I. 

Foundations of the Nation 

Vol. I European Background of American 
History, by Edward Potts Chey- 
ney, A.M., Prof. Hist. Univ. of Pa. 

'* 2 Basis of American History, by 
Livingston Farrand, M.D., Prof. 
Anthropology Columbia Univ. 

" 3 Spain in Ameri ca, by Edward Gay- 
lord Bourne, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Yale Univ. 

'* 4 England in America, by Lyon Gar- 
diner Tyler, LL.D., President 
William and Mary College. 

" 5 Colonial Self - Government, by 
Charles McLean Andrews, Ph.D., 
Prof, Hist. Johns Hopkins Univ. 

Group II, 

Transformation into a Nation 

Vol. 6 Provincial America, by Evarts 
Boutell Greene, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
and Dean of College, Univ. of 111. 
" 7 France in America, by Reuben 
Gold Thwaites, LL.D., Sec. Wis- 
consin State Hist. Soc. 

Vol. 8 Preliminaries of the Revolution, 
by George Elliott Howard, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Univ. of Nebraska. 

" 9 The American Revolution, by 
Claude Halstead Van Tyne, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Univ. of Michigan. 

'* lo The Confederation and the Consti- 
tution, by Andrew Cimningham 
McLaughlin, A.M., Head Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Chicago. 

Group III. 

Development of the Nation 

Vol. II The Federalist System, by John 
Spencer Bassett, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Smith College. 

" 12 The Jeffersonian System, by Ed- 
ward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

" 13 Rise of American Nationality, by 
Kendric Charles Babcock, Ph.D., 
Pres. Univ. of Arizona. 

" 14 Rise of the New West, by Freder- 
ick Jackson Turner, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Univ. of Wisconsin. 

" 15 Jacksonian Democracv, by Will- 
iam MacDonald, LL.D., Prof. 
Hist. Brown Univ. 

Group IV. 

Trial op Nationality 

Vol. 16 Slavery and Abolition, by Albert 
Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

Vol. 17 Westward Extension, by George 
Pierce Garrison, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Texas. 

'* 18 Parties and Slavery, by Theodore 
Clarke Smith, Ph.D., Prof. Am. 
Hist. Williams College. 

** 19 Causes of the Civil War, by Admiral 
French Eusor Chadwick, U.S.N., 
recent Pres. of Naval War Col. 

" 20 The Appeal to Arms, by James 
Kendall Hosmer, LL.D., recent 
Librarian Minneapolis Pub. Lib, 

** 21 Outcome of the Civil War, by 
James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D., re- 
cent Lib. Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 

Group V. 
National Expansion 
Vol. 22 Reconstruction, Political and Eco- 
nomic, by William Archibald Dun- 
ning, Ph.D. , Prof. Hist, and Politi- 
cal Philosophy Columbia Univ. 

23 National Development, by Edwin 
Erie Sparks, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Univ. of Chicago. 

24 National Problems, by Davis R. 
Dewey, Ph.D., Professor of Eco- 
nomics, Mass. Inst, of Technology. 

25 America the World Power, by 
John H. Latane, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Washington and Lee Univ. 

26 Ideals of American Government, 
by Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., 
Prof. Hist. Harvard Univ. 

27 Index to the Series, by David 
Mavdole Matteson, A.M. 


The Massachusetts Historical Society 

Charles Francis Adams, LL.D., President 
Samuel A. Green, M.D., Vice-President 
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D., 2d Vice-President 
Edward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. History, Harvard 

Worthington C. Ford, Chief of Division of MSS. 

Library of Congress 

The Wisconsin Historical Society 

Reuben G. Thwaites, LL.D., Secretary 

Frederick J. Turner, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. Univ. of 

James D. Butler, LL.D. 
William W. Wright, LL.D. 
Hon. Henry E. Legler 

The Virginia Historical Society 

Captain William Gordon McCabe, Litt.D., Pres- 

Lyon G. Tyler, LL.D., Pres. William and Mary 

Judge David C. Richardson 

J. A. C. Chandler, Professor Richmond College 

Edward Wilson James 

The Texas Historical Society 

Judge John Henninger Reagan, President 

George P. Garrison, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. Univ. of 

Judge C. W. Raines 
Judge Zachary T. FuUmore 






I 300- 1 600 






I ; 

Copyright, 1904, by Harper & Brothers. 







Editor's Introduction to the Series . . xv 

Editor's Introduction xxvii 

Author's Preface xxi 

The East and the West (1200-1500) ... 3 
Oriental and Occidental Trade-Routes 

(1200-1500) 22 

Italian Contributions to Exploration 

(1200-1500) 41 

Pioneer Work OF Portugal (1400-1527) . . 60 
The Spanish Monarchy in the Age of 

Columbus (1474-1525) 79 

Political Institutions of Central Europe 

(1400-1650) 104 

The System of Chartered Commercial Com- 
panies (1550-1700) 123 

Typical American Colonizing Companies 

(1600-1628) 147 

The Protestant Reformation on the Con- 
tinent (1500-1625) 168 

Religious Wars in the Netherlands and 

Germany (1520-1648) 179 

The English Church and the Catholics 

(1534-1660) 200 



XII. The English Puritans and the Sects (1550- 

1689) 216 

XIII. The Political System of England (1500- 

1689) 240 

XIV. The English County and its Officers (1600- 

1650) 261 

XV. English Justices of the Peace (i 600-1 650) 274 

XVI. English Parish or Township Government 

(1500-1650) 290 

XVII. Critical Essay on Authorities 316 

Index 33$ 

Mediaeval Trade -Routes across Asia (in 

colors) facing 25 

Conquests of the Ottoman Turks (1300- 

152s) (in colors) " 35 

The Laurentian Portolano of 135 i ..." 55 
Portuguese Discoveries on the Coast of Africa 

(1340-1498) 71 

Territorial Growth of Spain (i 230-1 580) ... 80 
Spheres of Influence Assigned to Eng- 
lish Commercial Companies about 1625 
(in colors) facing 123 


THAT a new history of the United States is 
needed, extending from the discovery down to 
the present time, hardly needs statement. No such 
comprehensive work by a competent writer is now 
in existence. Individual writers have treated only 
limited chronological fields. Meantime there is a 
rapid increase of published sources and of service- 
able monographs based on material hitherto unused. 
On the one side there is a necessity for an intelli- 
gent summarizing of the present knowledge of 
American history by trained specialists; on the 
other hand there is need of a complete work, writ- 
ten in untechnical style, which shall serve for the 
instruction and the entertainment of the general 

To accomplish this double task within a time 
short enough to serve its purpose, there is but one 
possible method, the co-operative. Such a division 
of labor has been employed in several German, 
French, and English enterprises ; but this is the first 
attempt to carry out that system on a large scale 
for the whole of the United States. 

The title of the work succinctly suggests the char- 

VOL. I. — 3 XV 


acter of the series, The American Nation: A History. 
From Original Materials by Associated Scholars, The 
subject is the ''American Nation," the people com- 
bined into a mighty political organization, with a 
national tradition, a national purpose, and a national 
character. But the nation, as it is, is built upon its 
own past and can be understood only in the light 
of its origin and development. Hence this series is 
a "history," and a consecutive history, in which 
events shall be shown not only in their succession, 
but in their relation to one another; in which cause 
shall be connected with effect and the effect be- 
come a second cause. It is a history " from orig- 
inal materials," because such materials, combined 
with the recollections of living men, are the only 
source of our knowledge of the past. No accurate 
history can be written which does not spring from 
the sources, and it is safer to use them at first hand 
than to accept them as quoted or expounded by 
other people. It is a history written by " scholars " : 
the editor expects that each writer shall have had 
previous experience in investigation and in state- 
ment. It is a history by ''associated scholars," 
because each can thus bring to bear his special 
knowledge and his special aptitude. 

Previous efforts to fuse together into one work 
short chapters by many hands have not been alto- 
gether happy: the results have usually been ency- 
clopaedic, uneven, and abounding in gaps. Hence 
in this series the whole work is divided into twenty- 


six volumes, in each of which the writer is free to 
develop a period for himself. It is the editor's 
function to see that the links of the chain are ad- 
justed to each other, end to end, and that no con- 
siderable subjects are omitted. 

The point of view of The American Nation is that 
the purpose of the historian is to tell what has been 
done, and, quite as much, what has been purposed, 
by the thinking, working, and producing people who 
make public opinion. Hence the w^ork is intended 
to select and characterize the personalities who have 
stood forth as leaders and as seers ; not simply the 
founders of commonwealths or the statesmen of the 
republic, but also the great divines, the inspiring 
writers, and the captains of industry. For this is 
not intended to be simply a political or constitutional 
history : it must include the social life of the people, 
their religion, their literature, and their schools. 
It must include their economic life, occupations, 
labor systems, and organizations of capital. It must 
include their wars and their diplomacy, the rela- 
tions of community with community, and of the 
nation with other nations. 

The true history, nevertheless, must include the 
happenings which mark the progress of discovery 
and colonization and national life. Striking events, 
dramatic episodes, like the discovery of America, 
Drake's voyage around the world, the capture of 
New Amsterdam by the English, George Rogers 
Clark's taking of Vincennes, and the bombardment 


of Fort Sumter, inspired the imagination of contem- 
poraries, and stir the blood of their descendants. 

A few words should be said as to the make-up of 
the volumes. Each contains a portrait of some 
man especially eminent within the field of that vol- 
ume. Each volume also contains a series of col- 
ored and black-and-white maps, which add details 
better presented in graphic form than in print. 
There being no general atlas of American history 
in existence, the series of maps taken together will 
show the territorial progress of the country and will 
illustrate explorations and many military move- 
ments. Some of the maps will be reproductions of 
contemporary maps or sketches, but most of them 
have been made for the series by the collaboration 
of authors and editor. 

Each volume has foot-notes, with the triple pur- 
pose of backing up the author's statements by the 
weight of his authorities, of leading the reader to 
further excursions into wider fields, and of furnishing 
the investigator with the means of further study. 
The citations are condensed as far as is possible 
while leaving them unmistakable, and the full 
titles of most of the works cited will be found in the 
critical essay on bibliography at the end of each 
volume. This constant reference to authorities, a 
salutary check on the writer and a safeguard to the 
reader, is one of the features of the work; and the 
bibliographical chapters carefully select from the 
immense mass of literature on American history the 


titles of the most authentic and the most useful 
secondary works and sources. 

The principle of the whole series is that every book 
shall be written by an expert for laymen ; and every 
volume must therefore stand the double test of ac- 
curacy and of readableness. American history loses 
nothing in dramatic climax because it is true or be- 
cause it is truly told. 

As editor of the series I must at least express 
my debt to the publishers, who have warmly adopted 
the idea that truth and popular interest are insep- 
arable; to the authors, with whom I have discussed 
so often the problems of their o^\^l volumes and of 
the series in general; especially to the members of 
the committees of the Massachusetts Historical So- 
ciety, Virginia Historical Society, Texas Historical 
Society, and Wisconsin State Historical Society, 
whose generous interest and suggestions in the 
meetings that I have held with them were of such 
assistance in the laying out of the work; to the 
public, who now have the opportunity of acting as 
judges of this performance and whose good - will 
alone can prove that the series justifies itself. 

Albert Bushnell Hart. 


THIS first volume of the series supplies a needed 
link between the history of Europe and the his- 
tory of early America ; for whether it came through 
a Spanish, French, English, Dutch, or Swedish me- 
dium, or through the later immigrants from Ger- 
many, from Italy, and from the Slavic countries, 
the American conception of society and of govern- 
ment was originally derived from the European. 
Hence the importance at the outset of knowing what 
that civilization was at the time of colonization. 
Professor Cheyney (chapters i. and ii.) fitly begins 
with an account of mediaeval commerce, especially 
between Europe and Asia, and the effect of the in- 
terposition of the Turks into the Mediterranean, 
and how, by their disturbance of the established 
course of Asiatic trade, they turned men's minds 
towards other routes to Asia by sea. 

Thence he proceeds to show (chapter iii.) how 
the Italians in navigation and in map-making ex- 
hibited the same pre-eminence as in commerce and 
the arts, and why Italy furnished so many of the 
explorers of the western seas in the period of dis- 
covery. It is an easy transition in chapter iv. to 



the dramatic story of the efforts of the Portuguese 
to reach India round Africa. 

The next step is to describe in some detail (chap- 
ters V. and vi.) the system of government and of 
commerce which existed in Spain, France, and 
Holland in the sixteenth century ; and the book will 
surprise the reader in its account of the effective and 
far-reaching administration of the Spanish king- 
dom, the mother of so many later colonies. This 
discussion is very closely connected with the ac- 
count of Spanish institutions in the New World as de- 
scribed by Bourne in his Spain in America (volume 
III. of the series), and we find the same terms, such 
as "audiencia," ''corregidor," and "Council of the 
Indies" reappearing in colonial history. 

A much-neglected subject in American history is 
the development of great commercial companies, 
which, in the hands of the English, planted their 
first permanent colonies. To this subject Professor 
Cheyney devotes two illuminating chapters (vii. and 
viii.), in which he prints a list of more than sixty such 
companies chartered by various nations, and then 
selects as typical the English Virginia Company, 
the Dutch West India Company, and the French 
Company of New France, which he analyzes and 
compares with one another. It is significant that 
not one of these companies was Spanish, for that 
country retained in its own hands complete control 
both of its colonies and of their commerce. 

Since English colonization was almost wholly 


Protestant and added a new centre of Protestant in- 
fluence, Professor Cheyney has, in two chapters 
(ix. and X.), given some account of the Reformation 
and of the religious wars of the sixteenth century. 
He brings out not only the differences in doctrine but 
in spirit, and shows how, by the Thirty Years' War, 
Germany was excluded from the possibility of es- 
tablishing American colonies, a lack which that 
country has found it impossible to repair in our 

The mother-country for the American nation was 
in greater part England ; even Scotland and Ireland 
contributed their numbers and their characteristics 
only in the third and fourth generations of the colo- 
nies. A considerable part of this volume, therefore 
(chapters xi. to xvi.), is given up to a description of 
the conditions of England at the time of the de- 
parture of the first colonists. Everybody knows, 
and nobody knows clearly, the religious questions 
in England from Elizabeth to James XL Here will 
be found a distinct and vivid account of the struggle 
between churchmen, Catholics, Puritans, and In- 
dependents for influence on the Church of England 
or for supremacy in the state. Why did the Cath- 
olics in general remain loyal ? Why were the Puri- 
tans punished? Why were the Independents at 
odds with everybody else? Why did not Presby- 
terianism take root in England ? These are all ques- 
tions of great moment, and their adjustment by 
Professor Cheyney prepares the way for the account 


of the Pilgrims who founded Plymouth colony in 
Tyler's England in America (volume IV. of the 

An absolute essential for an understanding of 
colonial history before the Revolution is a clear 
idea of the political system of England, both in its 
larger national form and in its local government. 
Hence the importance of Professor Cheyney's chap- 
ters on English government. The kings' courts, 
council, and Parliament all had their effect upon 
the governors' courts, councils, and assemblies of the 
various colonies. From the English practice came 
the superb, fundamental notion of a right of repre- 
sentation and of the effectiveness of a delegated as- 
sembly. In local government the likeness was in 
some respects even closer; and Professor Cheyney's 
account of the English county court, and especially 
of the township or parish, will solve many difficulties 
in the later colonial history. In some ways Pro- 
fessor Cheyney's conclusions make more striking and 
original the development of the astonishing New 
England town-meetings. 

As the volume begins with the rise of the explor- 
ing spirit, it is fitting that Prince Henry the Navi- 
gator should furnish the frontispiece. The bibli- 
ography deals more than those of later volumes 
with a literature which has been a tangled thicket, 
and will shorten the road for many teachers and 
students of these subjects. 

The significance of Professor Cheyney's volume is 


that, without describing America or narrating Amer- 
ican events, it furnishes the necessary point of de- 
parture for a knowledge of American history. The 
first question to be asked by the reader is, why did 
people look westward ? And the answ^er is, because 
of their desire to reach the Orient. The second 
question is, what was the impulse to new habits 
of life and what the desire for settlements in dis- 
tant lands ? The answer is, the effect of the Refor- 
mation in arousing men's minds and in bringing 
about wars which led to emigration. The third 
question is, what manner of people were they who 
furnished the explorers and the colonists? The 
answer is found in these pages, which describe the 
Spaniard, the French, the Dutch, and especially 
the English, and show us the national and local 
institutions which were ready to be transplanted, 
and which readily took root across the sea. 


THE history of America is a branch of that of 
Eirrope. The discovery, exploration, and set- 
tlement of the New World were results of European 
movements, and sprang from economic and political 
needs, development of enterprise, and increase of 
knowledge, in the Old World. The fifteenth cen- 
tury was a period of extension of geographical knowl- 
edge, of which the discovery of America was a part; 
the sixteenth century was a time of preparation, 
during which European events were taking place 
which were of the first importance to America, even 
though none of the colonies which were to make up 
the United States were yet in existence. 

From the time of the settlement forward, the only 
population of America that has counted in history 
has been of Eirropean origin. The institutions 
that characterize the New World are fimdamentally 
those of Europe. People and institutions have been 
modified by the material conditions of America ; and 
the process of emigration gave a new direction to the 
development of American history from the very be- 
ginning; but the origin of the people, of their in- 
stitutions, and of their history was none the less 
a European one. The beginnings of American his- 



tory are therefore to be found in European condi- 
tions at the time of the foundation of the colonies. 

Similar forces continued to exercise an influence 
in later times. The power and policy of home gov- 
ernments, successive waves of emigration, and num- 
berless events in Europe had effects which were 
deeply felt in America. This influence of Europe 
upon America, however, became less and less as 
time passed on; and the development of the Amer- 
ican nation has made its history constantly more 
independent. It is, therefore, only with some of the 
most important and earliest of these European oc- 
currences and conditions that this book is occupied. 
The general relation of America to Europe is a sub- 
ject that would require a vastly fuller treatment, 
and it is a subject which doubtless will increasingly 
receive the attention of scholars as our appreciation 
of the proper perspective of history becomes more 

In so wide a field as that of this voltmie, it has 
been necessary to use secondary materials for many 
statements; their aid is acknowledged in the foot- 
notes and in the bibliography. Other parts, so far 
as space limits allowed, I have been able to work out 
from original sources. For much valuable informa- 
tion, suggestion, and advice also, I am indebted to 
friends and fellow-workers, and here gladly make 
acknowledgment for such assistance. 

Edward Potts Cheyney. 





TO set forth the conditions in Europe which 
favored the work of discovering America and 
of exploring, colonizing, and establishing human 
institutions there, is the subject and task of this 
book. Its period extends from the beginning of 
those marked commercial, political, and intellectual 
changes of the fifteenth century which initiated a 
great series of geographical discoveries, to the close, 
in the later years of the seventeenth century, of 
the religious wars and persecutions which did so 
much to make that century an age of emigration 
from Europe. During those three hundred years 
few events in European history failed to exercise 
some influence upon the fortunes of America. The 
relations of the Old World to the New were then 
constructive and fundamental to a degree not true 

VOL. I. — 3 2 


of earlier or of later times. Before the fifteenth 
century events were only distantly preparing the 
way; after the seventeenth the centre of gravity of 
American history was transferred to America itself. 
The crowding events, the prominent men, the 
creative thoughts, and the rapidly changing in- 
stitutions which fill the history of western Europe 
during these three centuries cannot all be described 
in this single volume. It merely attempts to point 
out the leading motives for exploration and coloni- 
zation, to show what was the equipment for dis- 
covery, and to describe the most significant of those 
political institutions of Europe which exercised an 
influence on forms of government in the colonies, 
thus sketching the main outlines of the European 
background of American history. 

Many political, economic, intellectual, and per- 
sonal factors combined to make the opening of our 
modern era an age of geographical discovery. Yet 
among these many causes there was one which was 
so influential and persistent that it deserves to be 
singled out as the predominant incentive to ex- 
ploration for almost two hundred years. This 
enduring motive was the desire to find new routes 
from Europe to the far East. 

Columbus sailed on his great voyage in 1492, 
''his object being to reach the Indies."^ When 

* Columbus's Journal, October 3, 21, 23, 24, etc. Cf. Bourne, 
Spain in America, chap, ii. 

1498] EAST AND WEST 5 

he discovered the first land beyond the Atlantic, 
he came to the immediate conclusion that he had 
reached the coast of Asia, and identified first Cuba 
and then Hayti with Japan. A week after his 
first sight of land he reports, '* It is certain that this 
is the main-land and that I am in front of Zayton 
and Guinsay." ^ Even on his third voyage, in 
1498, he is still of the opinion that South America 
is the main -land of Asia.^ It was reported all 
through Europe that the Genoese captain had 
"discovered the coast of the Indies," and ''found 
that way never before known to the East." ^ The 
name West Indies still remains as a testimony to the 
belief of the early explorers that they had found 
the Indies by sailing westward. 

When John Cabot, in 1496, obtained permission 
from Henry VII. to equip an expedition for westward 
exploration, he hoped to reach " the island of Cipango 
(Japan) and the lands from which Oriental caravans 
brought their goods to Alexandria." ^ It is true that 
he landed on the barren shore of Labrador, and that 
what he descried from his vessel as he sailed south- 
ward was only the wooded coast of North America ; 
but it was reported, and for a while believed, that 
the king of England had in this manner "ac- 
quired a part of Asia without drawing his sword." ^ 

* Columbus's Journal, November i. ^ Columbus's will. 
' Ramusio, Raccolta di Navigazioni, I., 414. 

* Letter of Soncino, 1497, in Hart, Contemporaries^ I., ^o, 

* Ibid. Cf. Bourne, Spain in America, chap, v. 


In 1 501 Gaspar Cortereal, in the service of the king 
of Portugal, pressed farther into the ice-bound arctic 
waters on the same quest, and with his companions 
became the first in the dreary list of victims sacri- 
ficed to the long search for a northwest passage.^ 

When the second generation of explorers learned 
that the land that had been discovered beyond the 
sea was not Asia, their first feeling was not exulta- 
tion that a new world had been discovered, but 
chagrin that a great barrier, stretching far to the 
north and the south, should thus interpose itself 
between Europe and the eastern goal on which their 
eyes were fixed. Every navigator who sailed along 
the coast of North or South America looked eagerly 
for some strait by which he might make his way 
through, and thus complete the journey to the 
Spice Islands, to China, Japan, India, and the other 
lands of the ancient East.^ 

Verrazzano, in 1521, and Jacques Cartier, in 1534, 
1535, and 1 541, both in the service of the king of 
France, and Gomez, in the Spanish service, in 1521, 
were engaged in seeking this elusive passage.^ For 
more than a hundred years the French traders and 
explorers along the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes 
were led farther and farther into the wilderness by 
hopes of finding some western outlet which would 
make it possible for them to reach Cathay and India. 

^ Harrisse, Les Cortereal. 

2 Bourne, Spain in America, chap. viii. 

^ Pigeonneau, Histoire du Commerce de la France , II., 142-148, 

i6o9] EAST AND WEST 7 

Englishmen, with greater persistence than Span- 
iards, Portuguese, or French, pursued the search 
for this northwestern route to India. To find such 
a passage became a dream and a constantly renewed 
effort of the navigators and merchants of the days 
of Queen Elizabeth ; the search for it continued into 
the next century, even after colonies had been es- 
tablished in America itself ; and a continuance of the 
quest was constantly impressed by the government 
and by popular opinion upon the merchants of the 
Hudson Bay Company, till the eighteenth century. 

A tradition grew up that there was a passage 
through the continent somewhere near the fortieth 
parallel. It was in the search for this passage that 
Hudson was engaged, when, in the service of the 
Dutch government, in 1609, he made the famous 
voyage in the Half Moon and hit on the Hudson 
River; just as in his first voyage he had tried to 
reach the Indies by crossing the North Pole, and in 
his second by following a northeast route. ^ Much 
of the exploration of the coast of South America 
was made with the same purpose. To reach India 
was the deliberate object of Magellan when, in 15 19 
and 1520, he skirted the coast of that continent 
and made his way through the southern straits. 
The same objective point was intended in the 
"Molucca Voyage" of 152 6- 1530, under the com- 
mand of Sebastian Cabot, ^ as well as in other 

^ Asher, Henry Hudson, the Navigator, cxcii.-cxcvi. 
^ Beazley, John and Sebastian Cabot, 152. 


South American voyages of Spanish explorers. 
Thus the search for a new route to the East lay at 
the back of many of those voyages of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries, which gradually made 
America familiar to Europe. 

The same object was sought in explorations to the 
eastward. The earliest voyages of the Portuguese 
along the coast of Africa, it is true, had other mo- 
tives; but the desire to reach India grew upon the 
navigators and the sovereigns of that nation, and 
from the accession of John 11. , in 1481, every nerve 
was strained to find a route to the far East. Within 
one twelvemonth, in the years i486 and 1487, three 
expeditions left the coast of Portugal seeking access 
to the East. The first of these, under Bartholomew 
Diaz, discovered the Cape of Good Hope ; the second 
was an embassy of Pedro de Cavailham and Affonso 
de Paiva through the eastern Mediterranean to seek 
Prester John, a search which carried one of them to 
the west coast of India, the other to the east coast 
of Africa ; the third was an exploring expedition to 
the northeast, which reached, for the first time, the 
islands of Nova Zembla.^ The Portuguese ambi- 
tion was finally crowned with success in the exploit 
of Vasco da Gama in reaching the coast of India by 
way of the southern point of Africa, in 1498; the 
Spanish expedition under Magellan reached the 
same lands by the westward route twenty years 
afterwards. Even after these successes, efforts con- 

* Beazley, Henry the Navigator. 

1550] EAST AND WEwST 9 

tinned to be made to reach China and the Indies by 
a northeast passage around the northern coast of 
Europe. Successive expeditions of Portuguese, Eng- 
hsh, Prench, and Dutch were sent out only to meet 
invariable failure in those icy seas, until the terrible 
hardships the explorers endured gradually brought 
conviction of the impracticability of this, as of the 
northwestern, route. 

What was the origin of this eagerness to reach the 
Indies? Why did Portuguese, Spaniards, English, 
French, and Dutch vie with one another in centuries 
of effort not only to discover new lands, but to seek 
these sea-routes to the oldest of all lands ? Why were 
the old lines of intercourse between the East and the 
West almost deserted, and a new group of maritime 
nations superseding the old Mediterranean and mid- 
European trading peoples? The answer to these 
questions will be found in certain changes which were 
in progress in those lands east of the Mediterranean 
Sea, which lie on the border-line between Europe and 
Asia. Through this region trade between Europe 
and the far East had flowed from immemorial an- 
tiquity; but in the fifteenth century its channels 
were obstructed and its stream much diminished. 

Mediaeval Europe was dependent for her luxuries 
on Asia Minor and Syria, Arabia and Persia, India 
and the Spice Islands, China and Japan. Precious 
stones and fabrics, dyes and perfumes, drugs and 
medicaments, woods, gums, and spices reached Eu- 
rope by many devious and obscure routes, but all 


from the eastward. One of the chief luxuries of the 
Middle Ages was the edible spices. The monoto- 
nous diet, the coarse food, the unskilful cookery of 
mediaeval Europe had all their deficiencies covered 
by a charitable mantle of Oriental seasoning. Wines 
and ale were constantly used spiced with various 
condiments. In Sir Thopas's forest grew " notemuge 
to putte in ale."^ The brewster in the Vision of 
Piers Plowman declares: 

"I have good ale, gossip, Glutton wilt thou essay? 
•What hast thou,' quoth he, 'any hot spices?' 
I have pepper and peony and a pound of garlic, 
A farthing-worth of fennel seed for fasting days,"' 

Froissart has the king's guests led to "the palace, 
where wine and spices were set before them." ^ 
The dowry of a Marseilles girl, in 1224, makes men- 
tion of "mace, ginger, cardamoms, and galangale." ^ 
In the garden in the Romaunt of the Rose, 

"Ther was eek wexing many a spyce, 
As clow-gelofre, and licoryce, 
Gingere, and greyn de paradys, 
Canelle, and setewale of prys, 
And many a spyce dehtable, 
To eten when men ryse fro table."* 

When John Ball wished to draw a contrast bet^veen 
the lot of the lords and the peasants, he said, " They 

^ Chaucer, Sir T ho pas, line 52. 

2 Text C, passus VII,, lines 355, etc. 

^ Froissart, Chronicles, book 11., chap, Ixxx. 

* Quoted in Beazley, Dawn of Moderyi Geography, II., 433, n. 

^ Chaucer (Skeat's ed.), lines 1367-1372. 


have wines, spices, and fine bread, when we have 
only rye and the refuse of the straw." ^ When old 
Latimer was being bound to the stake he handed 
nutmegs to his friends as keepsakes.^ 

Pepper, the most common and at the same time 
the most valued of these spices, w^as frequently 
treated as a gift of honor from one sovereign to an- 
other, or as a courteous form of payment instead of 
money. ''Matilda de Chaucer is in the gift of the 
king, and her land is worth £S, 2d., and i pound of 
pepper and i pound of cinnamon and i ounce 
of silk," reads a chance record in an old English 
survey.^ The amount of these spices demanded 
and consumed was astonishing. Venetian galleys, 
Genoese carracks, and other vessels on the Medi- 
terranean brought many a cargo of them westward, 
and they were sold in fairs and markets everywhere. 
*' Pepper-sack" was a derisive and yet not unappre- 
ciative epithet applied by German robber-barons to 
the merchants whom they plundered as they passed 
down the Rhine. For years the Venetians had a 
contract to buy from the sultan of Egypt annually 
420,000 pounds of pepper. One of the first vessels 
to make its way to India brought home 210,000 
pounds. A fine of 200,000 pounds of pepper was 
imposed upon one petty prince of India by the 
Portuguese in 1520. In romances and chronicles, in 
cook-books, trades-lists, and customs-tariffs, spices 

^ Froissart, Chronicles, book II,, chap. Ixxiii. 

2 Froude, History of England. ^ Festa de Nevil, p, 16. 


are mentioned with a frequency and consideration 
unknown in modem times. 

Yet the location of *'the isles where the spices 
grow" was very distant and obscure to the men of 
the Middle Ages. John Cabot, in 1497, said that he 
"was once at Mecca, whither the spices are brought 
by caravans from distant countries, and having in- 
quired from whence they were brought and where 
they grew, the merchants answered that they did not 
know, but that such merchandise was brought from 
distant countries by other caravans to their home; 
and they further say that they are also conveyed 
from other remote regions." ^ Such lack of knowl- 
edge was pardonable, considering that Marco Polo, 
one of the most observant of travellers, after spend- 
ing years in Asia, believed, mistakenly, that nutmegs 
and cloves were produced in Java.^ It was only 
after more direct intercourse was opened up with the 
East that their true place of production became 
familiarly known in Europe. Nutmegs and mace, 
cloves and allspice were the native products of but 
one little spot on the earth's surface : a group of small 
islands, Banda, Amboyna, Ternate, Tidore, Pulaway, 
and Prelaroon, the southernmost of the Moluccas, 
or Spice Islands, just under the equator, in the 
midst of the Malay Archipelago. Their light, vol- 
canic soil, kept moist by the constant damp winds 
and hot by the beams of an overhead sun, furnished 

^ Letter of Soncino, in Hart, Contemporaries , I., 70. 
' Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book III., chap, vi., 21^, n, 

i5oo] EAST AND WEST 13 

the natural conditions in which the spice-trees grew. 
Here the handsome shrubs that yield the nutmeg 
and its covering of mace produced a continuous crop 
of flowers and fruit all the year around. Cloves 
grew in the same islands, as clusters of scarlet buds, 
hanging at the ends of the branches of trees which 
rise to a greater height and grow with even a greater 
luxuriance than the nutmeg-bushes.^ 

Pepper had scarcely a wider field of production. 
The forests that clothed a stretch of the Malabar 
coast of India some two hundred miles in length, 
and extending some miles back into the interior, 
were filled with an abundant growth of pepper- 
vines. One of the earliest of European travellers 
in India, Odoric de Pordenone, says: *'The province 
where pepper grows is named Malabar, and in no 
other part of the world does pepper grow except in 
this country. The forest where it grows is about 
eighteen days in length." ^ John Marignolli, in 
1348, also speaks of this district as "where the 
world's pepper is produced." ^ Its habitat was, 
however, somewhat more extensive, for in less abun- 
dance and of inferior quality the pepper- vines were 
raised all the way south to Cape Comorin, and even 
in the islands of Ceylon and Sumatra. 

Cinnamon-bark was the special product of the 

* Wallace, The Malay Archipelago , chap, xix. 
' Odoric de Pordenone (d'Avezac's ed.), chap. x. 
^ Quoted in Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), II., 314, n., and Sir 
John Mandeville, chap, xviii. 


mountain-slopes in the interior of Ceylon, but this 
also grew on the Indian coast to the westward/ and, 
in the form of cassia of several varieties, was obtained 
in Thibet, in the interior provinces of China, and in 
some of the islands of the Malay Archipelago. Gin- 
ger was produced in many parts of the East; in 
Arabia, India, and China. Odoric attributes to a 
certain part of India ''the best ginger that can be 
found in the world ;"^ and Marco Polo records its 
production of good quality in many provinces of 
India and China.^ A great number of other kinds 
of spices were produced in various parts of the Ori- 
ent, and consumed there or exported to Europe. 

Precious stones were of almost as much interest 
to the men of the Middle Ages as were spices. For 
personal ornament and for the enrichment of shrines 
and religious vestments, all kinds of beautiful stones 
exercised an attraction proportioned to the small 
number and variety of articles of beauty and taste 
in existence. 

"No saphir ind, no rube riche of price, 
There lakked than, nor emeraud so grene."* 

These were as much characteristic products of the 
East as were spices. Diamonds, before the discov- 
ery of the American and African fields of produc- 

^ Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book III., chaps, xiv., xxv. 
^ Odoric de Pordenone (d'Avezac's ed.), chap, x. 
^ Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book II., chap. Ixxx., book III., 
chaps, xxii., xxiv., xxv,, xxvi. 

* Chaucer, Court of Love, lines 78, 79. 


tion, were found only in certain districts in the 
central part of India, especially in the kingdom of 
Mutfili or Golconda. Marco Polo tells the same 
story of the method of getting them there that is 
reported by Sindbad the Sailor/ Rubies, the next 
most admired stone of the Middle Ages, were also 
found, to some extent, in India, but more largely in 
the island of Ceylon, in farther India, and, above all, 
in the districts of Kerman, Khorassan, Badakshan, 
and other parts of the highlands of Persia along 
the Oxus and Jaxartes rivers.^ Sapphires, garnets, 
topaz, amethyst, and sardonyx were found in sev- 
eral of the same districts and also in the mountains 
and streams of the west coast of India, from the 
Gulf of Cambay all the way to Ceylon. The great- 
est markets in the world for these stones were the 
two Indian cities of Pulicat and Calicut ; the former 
on the southeastern, the latter on the western shore 
of the great peninsula. 

Pearls were then, as now, produced only in a very 
few places, principally in the strait between Ceylon 
and the main-land of India, and in certain parts of 
the Persian Gulf. In the native states in the south 
of India they were, however, accumulated in enor- 
mous quantities, and scarcely a list of Eastern ar- 
ticles of merchandise omits mention of them. One 
of the early European expeditions brought home 

^ Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book III., chap, xix.; Arabian 

2 Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels, 11. , App., I. 


among its freight 400 pearls chosen for their size 
and beauty, and forty pounds of an inferior sort. 
The passion of the native rajahs of India for 
gems had made the treasury of every petty prince 
a storehouse where vast numbers of precious 
stones had been garnered through thousands of 
years of wealth and civilization. This mass served 
as the booty of successive conquerors, and from 
time to time portions of it came into the hands of 
traders, along with stones newly obtained from 
natural sources. An early chronicler, in describing 
the return of the Polos to Venice from the East, tells 
how, from the seams of their garments, they took 
out the profits of their journeys in the East, in the 
form of "rubies, sapphires, carbuncles, diamonds, 
and emeralds." ^ 

Drugs, perfumes, gums, dyes, and fragrant woods 
had much the same attraction as spices and pre- 
cious stones, and came from much the same lands. 
The lofty and beautiful trees from which cam- 
phor is obtained grew only in Sumatra, Borneo, 
and certain provinces of China and Japan. Me- 
dicinal rhubarb was native to the mountainous 
districts of China, whence it was brought to the 
cities and the coast of that country on the backs 
of mules. Musk was a product of the border-lands 
of China and Thibet. The sugar-cane, although it 
grew widely in the East, from India and China to 

^ Ramusio, Raccolta, quoted in Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book 
I., chap, xxxvii. 

i5oo] EAST AND WEST 17 

Syria and Asia Minor, was successfully managed so 
as to produce sugar in quantities that could be ex- 
ported only in certain parts of Arabia and Persia. 
Bagdad was long famous for its sugar and articles 
preserved in sugar. Indigo was grown and prepared 
for dyeing purposes in India. ^ 

Brazil wood grew more or less abundantly in all 
parts of the peninsula of India and as far east as 
Siam and southern China. This wood, from which 
was extracted a highly valued dye, made a particu- 
larly strong impression on the medieval imagination. 
European travellers in India gave accounts of its 
being burned there for firewood, as their strangest 
tale of luxury and waste. It gave its name to a 
mythical island of Bresil, in the western seas, which 
was the subject of much speculation and romance. 
The same name was eventually applied to the South 
American country that now bears it, because it 
produced a similar dye-wood in large quantities. 
Sandal-wood and aloe-wood, which were valuable 
for their beautiful surface and fragrance when used 
in cabinet-work, and for their pleasant odor when 
burned as incense, grew only in certain parts of 

Many articles of manufacture, attractive for 
their material, their workmanship, or their design, 
came from the same Eastern lands. Glass, of supe- 
rior workmanship to anything known in Europe, 
came from Damascus, Samarcand, and Kadesia, 
* Heyd, Qeschichte des Levantehandels , II., App., I. 


near Bagdad. Objects of fine porcelain came from 
China, and finally became known by the name of 
that country. A great variety of fabrics of silk 
and cotton, as well as those fibres in their raw state, 
came from Asia to Europe. Dozens of names of 
Eastern origin still remain to describe the silk, cotton, 
hair, and mixed fabrics which came to Europe from 
China, India, Cashmere, and the cities of Persia, 
Arabia, Syria, and Asia Minor. Brocade, damask, 
taffeta, sendal, satin, camelot, buckram, muslin, and 
many varieties of carpets, rugs, and hangings, which 
were woven in various parts of those lands, have 
always since retained the names of the places which 
early became famous for their manufacture. The 
metal-work of the East was scarcely less character- 
istic or less highly valued in the AVest, though its 
varieties have not left such specific names. ^ 

Europe could feed herself with unspiced food, 
she could clothe herself with plain clothing, but for 
luxuries, adornments, refinements, whether in food, 
in personal ornament, or in furnishing her palaces, 
her manor-houses, her churches, or her wealthy 
merchants' dwellings, she must, in the fifteenth 
century, still look to Asia, as she had always done. 
It is true that in the later Middle Ages many 
articles of beauty and ornament were produced in 
the more advanced Western countries ; but not spices 
nor drugs, nor precious stones, nor any great variety 
of dyes. Oriental rugs are even yet superior to 

^ Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels, II., App., 543-699. 


any like productions of the West ; and a vast number 
of other articles of Eastern origin then held, and 
indeed still hold, the markets. 

In return for the goods which Europe brought 
from Asia a few commodities could be shipped 
eastward. European woollen fabrics seem to have 
been almost as much valued in certain countries of 
Asia as Eastern cotton and silk goods were in Italy, 
France, Germany, and England. Certain Western 
metals and minerals were highly valued in the East, 
especially arsenic, antimony, quicksilver, tin, cop- 
per, and lead.^ The coral of the Mediterranean was 
much admired and sought after in Persia and India, 
and even in countries still farther east. Never- 
theless the balance of trade was permanently in 
favor of the East, and quantities of gold and silver 
coin and bullion were used by European merchants 
to buy the finer wares in Asiatic markets. 

There was much general trading in Eastern marts. 
Numbers of Oriental merchants, like Sindbad the 
Sailor and his company, "passed by island after 
island and from sea to sea and from land to land; 
and in every place by which we passed we sold and 
bought and exchanged merchandise." The articles 
enumerated above were almost without exception 
in demand throughout the whole East, and were 
bought by merchants in one place and sold in an- 

* Birdwood, Hand-book to the Indian Collection (Paris Universal 
Exhibition, 1878) , Appendix to catalogue of the British Colonies, 

pp. I-IIO. 

VOL. I. — 4 


other. Marco Polo, in describing the Chinese city 
of Zayton, says: "And I assure you that for one 
shipload of pepper that goes to Alexandria or else- 
where destined for Christendom, there come a hun- 
dred such, aye and more too, to this haven of 
Zayton."' Even as late as 15 15, Giovanni d'Em- 
poli, writing about China, says: ''Ships carry spices 
thither from these parts. Every year there go 
thither from Sumatra 60,000 cantars of pepper and 
15,000 or 20,000 from Cochin and Malabar — besides 
ginger, mace, nutmegs, incense, aloes, velvet, Eu- 
ropean gold-wire, coral, woollens, etc." ^ 

Nevertheless the attraction of the West was clearly 
felt in the East. Extensive as were the local purchase 
and sale of articles of luxury and use by merchants 
throughout India, Persia, Arabia, Central Asia, and 
China, yet the export of goods from those countries 
to the westward was a form of trade of great im- 
portance, and one which had its roots deep in an- 
tiquity. A story of the early days tells how the 
jealous brothers of Joseph, when they were consider- 
ing what disposition to make of him, " lifted up their 
eyes and looked, and, behold, a travelling company of 
Ishmeelites came from Gilead, with their camels 
bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to 
carry it down to Egypt." ^ When the prophet cries, 
"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with gar- 

» Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book II., chap. Ixxxii 
* Quoted in ibid., book II., i88. 
■ Genesis, xxxvii. 25. 

1500] EAST AND WEST 21 

merits dyed red from Bozrah?" he is using two of 
the most familiar names on the Hnes of west Asiatic 
trade. Solomon gave proof of his wisdom and made 
his kingdom great by seizing the lines of the trade- 
routes from Tadmor in the desert and Damascus 
in the north to the upper waters of the Red Sea on 
the south. The "royal road" of the Persian kings 
from Sousa to Ephesus made a long detour through 
northern Asia Minor, which was inexplicable to 
modern arch^ologists until it was perceived that it 
was following the line of a trade-route much more 
ancient than the Persian monarchy.^ 

The harbor of Berenice, named after the mother 
of Ptolemy Philadelphus, was built by him as a place 
of transit for goods from India which were to be 
carried from the Red Sea to the Nile.^ Roman 
roads followed ancient lines through Asia Minor and 
Syria, and mediaeval routes in turn, in many places, 
passed by the remains of Roman stations. Thus 
the East and the West had been drawn together 
by a mutual commercial attraction from the earliest 
times, an attraction based on the respective natural 
productions of the two continents, and favored by 
the vast superiority of the East in the creation of 
articles of beauty and usefulness. 

* Ramsay, The Historical Geography of Asia Minor, chap. i. 
' Hunter, Hist, of British India, I., 40. 



IN the fifteenth century Eastern goods regularly 
reached the West by one of three general routes 
through Asia. Each of these had, of course, its 
ramifications and divergences; they were like three 
river-systems, changing their courses from time to 
time and occasionally running in divided streams, 
but never ceasing to follow the general course marked 
out for them by great physical features. The south- 
ernmost of these three routes was distinguished 
by being a sea-route in all except its very latest 
stages. Chinese and Japanese junks and Malaysian 
proas gathered goods from the coasts of China and 
Japan and the islands of the great Malay Archipel- 
ago, and bought and sold along the shores of the 
China Sea till their westward voyages brought them 
into the straits of Malacca and they reached the 
ancient city of that name. This was one of the 
great trading points of the East. Few Chinese 
traders passed beyond it, though the more enter- 
prising Malays made that the centre rather than the 
western limit of their commerce. Many Arabian 



traders also came there from India to sell their 
goods and to buy the products of the islands of the 
archipelago, and the goods which the Chinese trad- 
ers had brought from still farther East. 

The Indian and Arabian merchants who came to 
Malacca as buyers were mostly from Calicut and 
other ports on the Malabar coast, and to these home 
ports they brought back their purchases. To these 
markets of southwestern India were also brought 
the products of Ceylon, of the eastern coast, and 
of the shore of farther India. From port to port 
along the Malabar coast passed many coasting 
vessels, whose northern and western limit was 
usually the port of Ormuz at the entrance to the 
Persian Gulf. A great highway of commerce 
stretched from this trading and producing region, 
and from the Malabar ports directly across the 
Arabian Sea to the entrance of the Red Sea. When 
these waters were reached, many ports of debarka- 
tion from Mecca northward might be used. But 
the prevailing north winds made navigation in the 
Red Sea difficult, and most of the goods which 
eventually reached Europe by this route were 
landed on the western coast, to be carried by 
caravan to Kus, in Egypt, and then either by car- 
avans or in boats down the line of the Nile to 

Cairo was a very great city, its population being 
occupied largely in the transmission of goods. A 
fifteenth-century traveller counted 15,000 boats in 


the Nile at one time/ and another learned that 
there were in all some 36,000 boats belonging in 
Cairo engaged in traffic up and down the river. ^ 
From Cairo a great part of tliese goods were taken 
for sale to Alexandria, which was in many ways as 
much a European as an African city. Thus a reg- 
ular route stretched along the southern coasts of 
Asia, allowing goods produced in all lands of the 
Orient to be gathered up in the course of trade and 
transferred as regular articles of commerce to the 
southeastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. 

A second route lay in latitudes to the north of 
that just described. From the ports on the west 
coast of India a considerable proportion of the goods 
destined ultimately for Europe made their way 
northward to the Persian Gulf. A line of trading 
cities extending along its shores from Ormuz near 
the mouth of the gulf to Bassorah at its head served 
as ports of call for the vessels which carried this 
merchandise. Several of these coast cities were also 
termini of caravan routes entering them from the 
eastward, forming a net- work which united the va- 
rious provinces of Persia and reached through the 
passes of Afghanistan into northern India. From 
the head of the Persian Gulf one branch of this 
route went up the line of the Tigris to Bagdad. 
From this point goods were taken by caravan through 
Kurdistan to Tabriz, the great northern capital of 

* Piloti, quoted in Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels , II., 43. 
2 Ibn Batuta, quoted, ihid. 


Persia, and thence westward either to the Black Sea 
or to Lay as on the Mediterranean. Another branch 
was followed by the trains of camels which made 
their way from Bassorah along the tracks through 
the desert which spread like a fan to the westward, 
till they reached the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Antioch, 
and Damascus. They finally reached the Mediter- 
ranean coast at Laodicea, Tripoli, Beirut, or Jaffa, 
while some goods were carried even as far south as 

Far to the north of this complex of lines of trade 
lay a third route between the far East and the West, 
extending from the inland provinces of China west- 
ward across the great desert of Obi, south of the 
Celestial mountains to Lake Lop; then passing 
through a series of ancient cities, Khotan, Yarkand, 
Kashgar, Samarcand, and Bokhara, till it finally 
reached the region of the Caspian Sea. This main 
northern route was joined by others which crossed 
the passes of the Himalayas and the Hindoo-Kush, 
and brought into a united stream the products of 
India and China.* A journey of eighty to a hun- 
dred days over desert, mountain, and steppes lay by 
this route between the Chinese wall and the Caspian. 
From still farther north in China a parallel road to 
this passed to the north of the desert and the moun- 
tains, and by way of Lake Balkash, to the same an- 
cient and populous land lying to the east of the Cas- 
pian Sea. Here the caravan routes again divided. 
' Hunter, Hist, of British India, I., 31, 


Some led to the southwestward, where they united 
with the more central routes described above and 
eventually reached the Black Sea and the Mediter- 
ranean through Asia Minor and Syria. Others 
passed by land around the northern coast of the 
Caspian, or crossed it, reaching a further stage 
at Astrakhan. From Astrakhan the way led on 
by the Volga and Don rivers, till its terminus 
was at last reached on the Black Sea at Tana 
near the mouth of the Don, or at KafEa in the 

Along these devious and dangerous routes, by 
junks, by strange Oriental craft, by river-boats, by 
caravans of camels, trains of mules, in wagons, on 
horses, or on human shoulders, the products of the 
East were brought within reach of the merchants 
of the West. These routes were insecure, the trans- 
portation over them difficult and expensive. They 
led over mountains and deserts, through alternate 
snow and heat. Mongol conquerors destroyed, from 
time to time, the cities which lay along the lines of 
trade, and ungoverned wild tribes plundered the 
merchants who passed through the regions through 
which they wandered. More regularly constituted 
powers laid heavy contributions on merchandise, 
increasing many-fold the price at which it must ulti- 
mately be sold. The routes by sea had many of the 
same dangers, along with others peculiar to them- 
selves. The storms of the Indian Ocean and its ad- 

^ Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels, II., 68-254. 


jacent waters were destructive to vast numbers of 
the frail vessels of the East ; piracy vied with storms 
in its destructiveness ; and port dues w^ere still higher 
than those of inland marts. 

With all these impediments, Eastern products, 
nevertheless, arrived at the Mediterranean in con- 
siderable quantities. The demands of the wealthy- 
classes of Europe and the enterprise of European 
and Asiatic merchants were vigorous enough to 
bring about a large and even an increasing trade; 
and the three routes along which the products of 
the East were brought to those who were able to 
pay for them were never, during the Middle xAges, en- 
tirely closed. They found their western termini in 
a long line of Levantine cities extending along the 
shores of the Black Sea and of the eastern Mediterra- 
nean from Tana in the north to Alexandria in the 
south. In these cities the spices, drugs, dyes, per- 
fumes, precious stones, silks, rugs, metal goods, and 
other fabrics and materials produced in far Eastern 
lands were always obtainable by European mer- 

The merchants who bought these goods in the 
market-places of the Levant for the purpose of dis- 
tributing them throughout Europe were for the 
most part Italians from Pisa, Venice, or Genoa; 
Spaniards from Barcelona and Valencia ; or Proven- 
gals from Narbonne, Marseilles, and Montpellier.^ 
They were not merely travelling buyers and sellers, 

^ Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, II., chap. vi. 


but in many cases were permanent residents of the 
eastern Mediterranean lands. In the first half of the 
fifteenth century there were settlements of such 
merchants in Alexandria in Egypt ; in Acre, Beirut, 
Tripoli, and Laodicea on the Syrian coast; at Con- 
stantinople, and in a group of cities skirting the 
Black Sea. Even in the more inland cities of Syria, 
such as Damascus, Aleppo, and Antioch, Italians 
were established.^ The position of European mer- 
chants varied in the different cities on this trading 
border between the East and the West, from that of 
mere foreign traders, living on bare sufferance in 
the midst of a hostile community, to that of citizens 
occupying what was practically an outlying Vene- 
tian or Genoese or Pisan colony. 

In the greater number of cases the Italian and 
other European merchants had quarters, or fondachi, 
granted to them in the Eastern cities by the Sara- 
cen emirs of Egypt and Syria, or by the Greek em- 
peror of Asia Minor, Constantinople, and Trebizond. 
These fondachi were buildings, or groups of dwellings 
and warehouses, often including a market-place, 
offices, and church, where the merchants of some 
Italian or Provencal city carried on their business 
affairs according to their own rules, under permission 
granted to them by the local ruler. A Genoese or 
Venetian fondaco was usually governed by a consul 
or bailiff, appointed by the home government, or 
elected among themselves with the approval of the 

* Heyd, Geschichte des Leyantehandels ^ II., 67. 


senate and doge at home. Two or more advisers 
were usually provided by the home government to 
act with the consul in negotiations with the local 
government. In more important matters embassies 
were sent directly from the doge to the ruler on 
whose toleration or self-interest the whole settle- 
ment was dependent. 

For whole centuries Italians had made up an ap- 
preciable part of the population of many cities of 
the Levant; the galleys of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa 
lay at their wharves discharging produce of the 
West and loading the products of the East ; a large 
part of the income of the local potentates, or gov- 
ernors, was made up of export and import duties, 
harbor charges, and other impositions paid by the 
Western merchants. The prosperity of these Greek 
and Saracen seaboard cities was as largely dependent 
on this trade as was that of the merchants who came 
there for its sake.^ 

We have seen how the merchandise of the far 
East flowed to the Eastern cities of the Mediterra- 
nean, and how it was gathered there into the hands 
of European merchants. It remains to follow the 
routes by which it was redistributed throughout 
Europe. Both Genoa and Venice had possessions 
in the Greek Archipelago which formed stepping- 
stones between the home cities and their fondachi in 
the cities of the Levant. Trading from port to port 

* Heyd, Geschichte des Levaniehandels^ I., 165, 168, 316, 363, 
414, 443, etc., II., 430, 435, etc. 


along these lines of connection, or sometimes carry- 
ing cargoes unbroken from their most distant points 
of trade, the galleys of the Italian, French, or Span- 
ish traders brought Eastern goods along with the 
products of the Mediterranean islands and shores to 
the home cities. These cities then became new dis- 
tributing-points of Eastern and Mediterranean goods 
as well as of their own home products. 

Venice may fairly be taken as a type of the cities 
which subsisted on this trade. Her merchants were 
the most numerous, widely spread, and enterprising ; 
her trade the most firmly organized, her hold on 
the East the strongest. To her market-places and 
warehouses a vast quantity of goods was constant- 
ly brought for home consumption and re-export. 
From Venice, yearly fleets of galleys went out des- 
tined to various points and carrying various car- 
goes. One of these fleets, after calling at successive 
ports in Illyria, Italy, Sicily, Spain, and Portugal, 
and after detaching some galleys for Southampton, 
Sandwich, or London, in England, reached, as its 
ultimate destination, Bruges, in Flanders.^ 

Other goods were taken by Venetian merchants 
through Italy and across the mountains by land. 
Most of the re-export from Venice by land was done 
by foreigners. Over the Alps came German mer- 
chants from Nuremberg, i\ugsburg, Ulm, Regens- 
burg, Constance, and other cities of the valleys of the 
Danube and the Rhine. They had a large building 
* Brown, Cal. of State Pap., Venetian. 


in Venice set apart for their use by the senate, the 
''Fondaco dei Tedeschi," much like those settle- 
ments which the Venetians themselves possessed in 
the cities of the Levant/ The goods which they 
purchased in Venice they carried in turn all through 
Germany, to the fairs of France, and to the cities of 
the Netherlands. Merchants of the Hanseatic League^ 
bought these goods at Bruges or Antwerp or in the 
south German cities, and carried them, along with 
their own northern products, to England, to the 
countries on the Baltic, and even into Poland and 
Russia, meeting at Kiev a more direct branch o(. 
the Eastern trade which proceeded from Astrak- 
han and Tana northward up the Volga and the 

Thus the luxuries of the East were distributed 
through Europe. With occasional interruptions, 
frequent changes in detail, and constant difficulties, 
the same general routes and methods of transfer and 
exchange had been followed for centuries. It was 
the oldest, the most extensive, and the most lucra- 
tive trade known to Europe. It stretched over the 
whole known world, its lines converging from the 
eastward and southward to the cities of Syria, Asia 
Minor, and the Black Sea coast, and diverging 
thence to the westward and northward throughout 

With the close of the Middle Ages this ancient and 
well-established trade showed evident signs of dis- 

^ Simonsfeld, Der Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venedig, II. 


organization and decline. The Levant was suffering 
from changes which interrupted its commerce and 
which made the old trade-routes that passed through 
it almost impracticable. The principal cause for 
this process of decay and failure was the rise of the 
Ottoman Turks as a conquering power. About 1300 
a petty group of Turks, in the heart of Asia Minor, 
under a chieftain named Osman, began a career of 
extension of their dominions by conquering the 
other provinces of Turkish or Greek origin and 
allegiance in their vicinity.^ Little by little the 
Osmanli pushed their borders out in every direction 
till they reached the Mediterranean, the Sea of Mar- 
mora, and the Black Sea. Within a century and a 
half, by the close of the reign of Murad II., in 1451, 
they had built vessels on the ^gean, plundered the 
Greek islands and laid them under tribute, crossed 
the Dardanelles and made conquests far up in the 
Balkan Peninsula, pressed close upon the Christian 
cities along the south coast of the Black Sea, and 
reduced the possessions of the Greek Empire to a 
narrow strip of land around Constantinople.^ The 
Turkish Empire was admirably organized for mil- 
itary and financial purposes and governed by a 
series of able sultans. 

Thus a great power arose on the border-line be- 
tween the Orient and the Occident, of which the 
merchant states of Italy and the West evidently had 

* Zinkeisen, Geschichte des Osmamschen Reiches in Europa. I., 
65-132. ^ Ibid., 184-798. 


to take account. But its existence did not at first 
appear to be necessarily destructive to their inter- 
ests. In many cases comparatively favorable com- 
mercial treaties were made with the Turkish sultans, 
and the facile Italians modified their trading to 
meet the new conditions.^ Nevertheless, with the 
Turks there could be no such close connection as that 
which had existed between the Western traders and 
the old-established states in the East, under which 
they enjoyed practical independence so long as they 
paid the money. The Turks were not only Moham- 
medans, they were barbarians; they added to the 
Moslem contempt for the Christian the warrior's 
contempt for the mere merchant. They were with- 
out appreciation for culture or even for refined 

The conquests of the Turks proceeded steadily to 
their completion. In 1452 Sultan Mohammed II. 
built the fort of Rumili Hissari, on the European side 
of the Bosporus, and gave the commander orders to 
lay every trading -vessel that passed the straits 
under tribute. The next year saw the final siege, 
the heroic resistance, and the fall of Constantinople. 

Among its defenders were Venetians, Genoese, 
Florentines, and Italian colonists from various set- 
tlements, summoned to the help of their coreligion- 
ists against the Mohammedans. On its capture all 
their goods were plundered, their leaders beheaded, 

^ Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels , II., 259, 260, 267, 275, 
284, etc. 


those of rank held for ransom, and the common 
men slaughtered or sold as slaves/ The neighbor- 
ing colony of Pera was left to the Genoese, but 
humbled to the rank of a Turkish village with a 
sadly restricted trade. Trade was allowed to and 
from Constantinople, but all the old privileges were 
abrogated, and the city was now the capital of a 
semi-barbarous ruler and race, who placed but small 
value on things brought by trade and continually 
engaged in war. 

Especially destructive to trade were the wars be- 
tween the Turks and the Italian colonists of the 
eastern Mediterranean. Such wars were inevitable. 
In the progress of their career of conquest the Otto- 
man fleets early attacked the island possessions of 
Venice and Genoa in the ^gean and their indepen- 
dent or semi-independent settlements on the shores 
of the Black Sea. Efforts for the defence of these 
involved war between the home governments and 
the rising Eastern power. From 1463 to 1479 war 
between the Turkish Empire and Venice raged in 
Syria and Asia Minor, in the islands of the eastern 
Mediterranean, on the m-ain-land of Greece, and 
northward to Albania. The Italian republic lost 
some of its best territories, including the Greek isl- 
ands, and only obtained permission to take its vessels 
through the Dardanelles and the Bosporus on pay- 
ment of a heavy annual sum.^ The few remaining 

* Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire. 

■ Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels , II., 325-332. 


G \K 









fl^ K-onieli 


1400 - 1450 





50 100 200 300 

' Caravan Routes 

BORMAY & CO.,', N.' 

Greenwich 35^ 


island possessions of Genoa were also lost — Lesbos in 
1462, Chios in 1466. A brave defence of their island 
homes was made by the Italians, but one after an- 
other these succumbed to the terrible attacks of the 

In the mean time the possessions still farther east 
had the same fate. Immediately after the downfall 
of Constantinople the Turks placed a fleet upon the 
Black Sea and attacked the colonies on the north 
coast at Kaffa, Soldaia, and Tana, and on the south 
at Trebizond and other ports. One after another 
these cities were placed under tribute ; repeated bat- 
tles destroyed their possessions; their population 
was enslaved and their property plundered . In 1 46 1 
Trebizond was captured ; in 1 500 Kaffa was finally 
conquered and the whole Christian population, 
after many sufferings, carried off to live as a subject 
race in a suburb of Constantinople. In 1499 and 
1500 Venice lost almost all the rest of her posses- 

Some of the cities of the West which had never had 
landed possessions in the East fared better under 
the Ottoman than did Venice and Genoa. Floren- 
tines, Ragusans, and men of Ancona, for some dec- 
ades, took their galleys from port to port of the 
Turkish coasts and islands, or passed as individual 
traders back along the trade-routes seeking goods 
for export. Nevertheless, the flow of Eastern goods 
along these routes was becoming less and less; the 

* Bury, in Cambridge Modern History, I., 75-81. 

VOL. I. — 5 


internal wars of rival Tartar rulers and those be- 
tween Tartars and Turks threw the northern routes 
and parts of the central route into even more than 
their usual confusion; and the lessened demands at 
the ports of the Black Sea and Asia Minor discour- 
aged the bringing of goods from the Eastern sources 
of supply. 

The Turkish thirst for conquest brought under 
the control of that race, in the half-century between 
1450 and 1500, half the western termini of the trade- 
routes with the East. It crushed out all semblance 
of independence in the settlements of the European 
merchants in Asia Minor and on the Black Sea, and 
left to them a bare foothold for purposes of trade 
under the most burdensome restrictions. These 
conquests were very destructive to life and property. 
Mercantile firms failed, old families died out, the 
mother-states were exhausted, and the flow of mer- 
chandise was dried up. The system of trade which 
had been in existence in these regions for centuries 
was quite destroyed by this violence. 

The central and southern routes for a time re- 
mained open; indeed, the blocking of the more 
northerly outlets sent a greater proportion of the 
trade in Eastern products through Syria and through 
the Red Sea ports. The markets at Damascus, 
Aleppo, Beirut, and Alexandria were better filled 
than ever with the products of the East. Even the 
Genoese, who had so completely lost their prosperity, 
still had a fondaco in Alexandria in 1483 ; while the 


Venetians, notwithstanding their losses in the north- 
eastern Mediterranean and their bitter struggles with 
the Turks, continued to make closer and closer 
trade arrangements with the Saracen emirs of the 
Syrian cities and the Mameluke sultans of Egypt. 
Under heavy financial burdens and amid constant 
disputes they still kept up an active trade. Ten 
or fifteen galleys came every year from Italy, France, 
and Spain to Alexandria, which in the later years of 
the fifteenth century was by far the greatest market 
for spices in the world. Even Florence, in the later 
years of the fifteenth century, opened up a trade 
with Egypt and Syria.* 

The southeastern Mediterranean was now destined 
to be swept by the same storm as the other parts of 
the Levant. In the early years of the sixteenth 
century the Ottoman army invaded Syria and 
Egypt. In 1 5 16 the sultan captured Damascus; in 
151 7 he entered Cairo as a conqueror. Syria and 
Egypt became a part of the Turkish Empire, as 
Asia Minor, the Balkan Peninsula, and the coasts 
of the Black Sea had already done. Treaties, it is 
true, were even yet formed by which Venice, at the 
price of humiliating conditions, obtained permission 
from the Ottoman government to continue a heavil}^ 
burdened trade in the blighted cities of Egypt and 
Syria, as she was already doing in Constantinople. 
But the process by which Turkish conquest was at- 
tained, and the whole spirit and policy of that 

* Heyd, Geschicte des Levantehandels, II,, 427-494. 


power, were adverse to trade between the East and 

The old trade-routes between Asia and Europe 
were effectually and permanently blocked by the 
Turkish conquests. Not only routes of trade, but 
methods of exchange, forms of transportation, and, 
in fact, the whole system by which Eastern goods 
had been brought to Europe for centuries, were in- 
terrupted, undermined, and made almost impractic- 
able. During this period the city republics of Italy, 
which had been the chief European intermediaries 
of this trade, were losing their prosperity, their 
wealth, their enterprise, and their vigor. This was 
due, as a matter of fact, to a variety of causes, in- 
ternal and external, political and economic ; but the 
sufferings in the wars with the Turks and the ad- 
verse conditions of the Levant trade on which their 
prosperity primarily rested were far the most im- 
portant causes of their decline. 

Thus the demand of European markets for East- 
em luxuries could no longer be met satisfactorily 
by the old methods; yet that demand was no less 
than it had been, and the characteristic products of 
the East were still sought for in all the market-places 
of Europe. Indeed, the demand was increasing. 
As Europe in the fifteenth century became more 
wealthy and more familiar with the products of the 
whole world, as the nobles learned to demand more 
luxuries, and a wealthy merchant class grew up 
which was able to gratify the same tastes as the 


nobles, the demand of the West upon the East be- 
came more insistent than ever. Therefore, the 
men, the nation, the government that could find a 
new way to the East might claim a trade of inde- 
finite extent and extreme profit. 

This is the explanation of that eager search for 
new routes to the Indies which lay at the back of so 
many voyages of discovery of the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries. Southward along the coast of 
Africa, in the hope that that continent could be 
rounded to the southeast ; northward along the coast 
of Europe in search of a northeast passage ; westward 
relying on the sphericity of the earth, and hoping 
that the distance from the west coast of Europe to 
the east coast of Asia would prove not to be inter- 
minable; after America was reached, again north- 
ward and southward to round and pass beyond that 
barrier, and thus reach Asia — such was the progress 
of geographical exploration for a century and a half, 
during which men gradually became familiar with a 
great part of the earth's surface. A study of the 
history of trade-routes corroborates the fact dis- 
closed by many other lines of study — that the discov- 
ery of America was no isolated phenomenon ; it was 
simply one step in the development of the world's 
history. Changes in the eastern Mediterranean led 
men to turn their eyes in other directions looking 
for other sea routes to the East. When they had 
done so, along with much else that was new, Amer- 
ica was disclosed to their vision. 


To follow out all the remote effects of the up- 
heaval in western Asia and eastern Europe would 
lead too far afield: but the diversion of commercial 
interest was only a part : the restless energies of the 
Latin races of southern Europe turned into a new 
channel; search for trade led to discovery, discovery 
to exploration, exploration to permanent settle- 
ment ; and settlement to the creation of a new centre 
of commercial and political interest, and eventually 
to the rise of a new nation. 


(i 200-1500) 

ALTHOUGH in the fifteenth century Italy lost 
i the commercial leadership which she had so long 
held, she did not cease to be the teacher of the other 
countries of Europe. In those arts which lay at the 
base of exploration, as in so many other fields, Italy 
was far in advance of all other Western countries. 
Through the Middle Ages she preserved much of the 
heritage of ancient skill and learning ; by her Renais- 
sance studies she recovered much that had been 
temporarily lost; and in geographical science she 
early made progress of her own. "The greatness of 
the Germans, the courtesy of the French, the valor 
of the English, and the wisdom of the Italians" is 
the tribute paid by a fifteenth-century Portuguese 
chronicler to the nations of his time, and this ** wis- 
dom of the Italians" he especially connects with ex- 
ploration and navigation.^ 

As a nation Italy played but a slight part in the 
discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; 
but through her scattered sons she used her fine in- 

* Azurara, Chronicle of Guinea, chap. ii. 


telligence to initiate and guide much of the work 
that was completed by the ruder but more efficient 
and vigorous nations of the Atlantic seaboard. 
Educated men from Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Flor- 
ence emigrated to other lands, carrying with them 
science, skill, and ingenuity unknown except in 
the advanced and enterprising Italian city republics 
and principalities. Italian mathematicians made 
the calculations on which all navigation was based ; 
Italian cartographers drew maps and charts ; Italian 
ship-builders designed and built the best vessels of 
the time; Italian captains commanded them, and 
very often Italian sailors made up their crews ; while 
at least in the earlier period Italian bankers ad- 
vanced the funds with which the expeditions were 
equipped and sent out. 

Columbus, Cabot, Verrazzano, and Vespucci were 
simply the most famous of the Italians who during 
this period made discoveries while in the service of 
other governments. The Venetian Cadamosto led 
repeated and successful expeditions for Prince Henry 
of Portugal; Perestrello, the discoverer of Porto 
Santo, in the Madeiras, and Antonio de Noli, the 
discoverer of the Cape Verd Islands, were both 
Italians.^ This was no new condition of affairs. 
In the time of Edward II. and Edward III., in the 
service of England, we find the names of Genoese 
such as Pesagno and Uso de Mare. Another Geno- 
ese, Emanuel Pesagno, was appointed as the first 
* Ruge, Der Zeitalter dcr Entdeckungen, 217. 


hereditary admiral of the fleet of Portugal, and by 
the terms of his engagement was required to keep 
the Portuguese navy provided with twenty Genoese 
captains of good experience in navigation. Of the 
sixty men who made up the complement of Magel- 
lan's fleet of 1 5 19, in the service of Spain, twenty- 
three were Italians, mostly Genoese.^ At the same 
time all Spanish taxes were administered by Genoese 
bankers, and they or other Italians had a monopoly 
of all loanable capital.^ 

Long before the great period of discoveries Italians 
contributed to the increase of geographical knowl- 
edge by travel and narratives of travel over the 
world as it was already known, but only known 
vaguely and by dim report. Down to the middle of 
the thirteenth century the total knowledge of the 
lands and waters of the globe possessed by the edu- 
cated men of Europe was not appreciably greater 
than it had been a thousand years earlier. The 
disintegration of the old Roman world, the more 
stationary habits of life, and the narrower interests 
of men during the early Middle Ages were unfavor- 
able to travel. 

The later Middle Ages were not lacking in keen 
intellect, in large knowledge, in powers of systema- 
tization and elaboration of what has already been 
acquired; but they had neither the material equip- 
ment nor the mental temperament to carry the 

* Navarrete, quoted in Ruge, Zeitalter, 466, n. 

* Hume, Spain, Its Greatness and Decay, 87. 


boundaries of knowledge further. What was known 
of the world to Ptolemy in the second century made 
up the sum of knowledge possessed by the geogra- 
phers of all the following centuries to the thirteenth. 
Indeed, the mediasval tendency to establish sym- 
metrical measurements, to adopt fanciful explana- 
tions, and to find analogies in all things, obscured 
earlier knowledge and made geographers of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries less correct in their 
knowledge of the world than were those of the second 
or the third/ 

The discoveries, conquests, and settlements of 
the Northmen in the north of Europe and the north- 
ern Atlantic were so detached from the knowledge 
of the south and came to a pause so early in time 
that notwithstanding their potential value they con- 
tributed practically nothing to the general geograph- 
ical knowledge of Europe. Nor did Christian, Jew- 
ish, or Arabic accounts of Eastern lands written by 
travellers of the eleventh, twelfth, and early thir- 
teenth centuries become widely known or influen- 
tial.^ Even the knowledge brought home by the 
Crusaders was of a restricted territory, most of it 
already comparatively familiar; and therefore they 
added little to the common stock. 

About the middle of the thirteenth century, how- 
ever, began a series of journeys which were more 
fully recorded in narratives more widely circulated 

' Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography. 
2 Ibid., II., chaps, i.-iv. 


and in a. more receptive period. Three incentives 
habitually carry men into distant and unknown 
lands — missionary zeal, desire for trade, and curiosity. 
Actuated by one or other of these influences, an in- 
creasing number of Europeans visited lands far be- 
yond the eastern terminations of the trade-routes, 
and some of them brought back reports of which the 
influence was wide and lasting. 

Among the earliest and most observant were a 
succession of Franciscan friars, sent after 1245 on 
missionary journeys to the court of the ruler of the 
great Tartar Empire, which was then so rapidly 
overspreading Asia and eastern Europe. The first 
of these w^as John de Piano Carpini, a native of 
Naples, who belonged to a Franciscan house near 
Perugia. He went through Bohemia, Poland, south- 
ern Russia, and the vast steppes of Turkestan, and 
found the Khan at Karakorum, in ^Mongolia. He was 
two years on the journey, and after his return wTote 
an exact and interesting account of his observations 
and experiences/ 

A few years afterwards William de Rubruquis — a 
Fleming in this case, not an Italian — w^as sent to 
visit the Mongol emperor by Louis IX. when he 
was in the East. He followed a more southerly 
route than Carpini, skirting the northern shores of 
the Black Sea, the Caspian, and the Sea of Aral, and 
then passing northward to Karakorum. Returning 
he crossed the Caucasus and passed through Persia 
Travels of John de Piano Carpini (d'Avezac's ed.) , 


and the lands of the Turks, finally reaching the 
Mediterranean through Syria. The account which 
he wrote of his adventures was much fuller than 
that of Piano Carpini, and gives descriptions of 
China as well as of the central Asiatic lands/ 

Just at the beginning of the next century two 
other travellers, John de Monte Corvino^ and Odoric 
de Pordenone,^ both Italians, made journeys 
through Persia, India, southern Asia, and China, 
and later wrote accounts of these more southern 
lands quite as full as were those already mentioned 
concerning the northern parts of the great eastern 

The most famous of all mediaeval travellers in the 
East were the Venetian merchants Nicolo and 
Matteo Polo and their nephew Marco. These en- 
terprising traders, leaving their warehouses in Sol- 
daia on the Crimea, in two successive journeys made 
their way along the northern and central trade- 
routes to Pekin, in northern China, or Cathay, 
which had become the capital of the Great Khan. 
For almost twenty years the Polos were attached to 
the court of Kublai Khan, the nephew, Marco, ris- 
ing higher and higher in the graces of that ruler. 

Marco Polo was one of the well-know^n type of 
Italian adventurers who appeared at foreign courts, 
and, with the versatility of their race, made them- 

^ Travels of William de Rubruquis (d'Avezac's ed.). 
^ Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, II., chap. v. 
' Travels of Odoric de Pordenone (d'Avezac's ed.). 


selves useful, and indeed indispensable, to their 
masters. He learned the languages of the East, and 
went upon missions for the Great Khan to all parts 
of his vast empire. When, in 1292, the Polos ob- 
tained permission to return home they followed the 
longest and most important of the three main trade- 
routes which have been described. They sailed 
from Zaiton, a seaport of China, and passing along 
the shores of Tonquin, Java, and farther India, 
made their way from port to port through the Bay 
of Bengal to Ceylon, then to the Malabar coast of 
India, along which they passed to Cambay, and 
thence through the Red Sea to Cairo, and so to 
Venice. Their journey homeward from China, with 
its long detentions in the East Indies, took almost 
three years. 

All the world knows of Marco Polo's subsequent 
experiences in Venice, his capture and imprison- 
ment in Genoa, the stories of his travels with which 
he whiled away the weary days of his captivity, and 
the gathering of these into a book which spread 
widely through Europe within the next few years 
and has been eagerly read ever since. ^ 

Neither the travels of Marco Polo nor those of his 
predecessors or immediate successors disclosed any 
lands the existence of which was not before known 
to Europeans; but they gave fuller knowledge of 
many countries and nations of which the names only 
were known; and they gave this knowledge with 

* Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), Introduction. 


astonishing freshness, minuteness, and accuracy. 
The writers of these books travelled over many 
thousands of miles, and they described, in the main, 
what they saw, although, of course, they repeated, 
with more or less of exaggeration, much which 
they only knew from conversation or from hearsay. 
Besides the written stories of such experiences, 
other Europeans who accompanied these travellers, 
or w^ho made independent journeys to various parts 
of Asia, spread knowledge of the same things. 
The author of a later popular volume of travels, 
passing under the name of Sir John ^landeville, 
managed, by making use of a shght acquaintance 
with Asia, of a fuller knowledge of the writings of 
other travellers, and, most of all, of the resources of a 
fertile imagination, to weave a tissue of mendacious 
description which really lessened knowledge.^ 

Nevertheless, as a result of these travellers' re- 
ports, the traditions of earlier times and the knowl- 
edge of the nearer East possessed by traders w^ere 
supplemented and popularized. The journeys of 
the travellers of the later thirteenth and the four- 
teenth centuries were a veritable revelation to Eu- 
rope of the condition of Tartary, Persia, India, 
China, and many intervening lands. Especially 
strong was the impression made by the reports about 
China and Japan. The land of the Seres, lying on 
the border of the eastern ocean, had indeed been 
known to the ancients, and mentioned by tradition 
* Travels of Sir John Mandeville (ed. of 1900). 


as the source from which came certain well-known 
products; but imder the name of Cathay, which 
]\Iarco Polo and his contemporaries gave to it, it 
attained a new and strong hold on men's imagina- 
tions. Its myriad population, its himdreds of cities, 
its vast wealth, its advanced civilization, its rivers, 
bridges, and ships, its manufactures and active 
trade, the fact that it was the easternmost country 
of Asia, washed by the waters of the external ocean 
— all made Cathay a land of intense interest to the 
rising curiosity of thirteenth-century Europe/ 

Similarly the great island of Cipangu, or Japan, 
lying a thousand miles farther to the eastward, 
though never actually visited by Marco Polo, and 
described by him with a vague and extravagant 
touch, was of equally keen interest to his readers, 
as were the "twelve thousand seven hundred isl- 
ands" at which he calculates the great archipel- 
agoes which lie in the Indian Ocean and the 

It was his accounts of "the province of Mangi," 
"the cities of Zaiton and Quinsay," "the Great 
Khan," "the island of Cipangu," and of their vast 
wealth and active trade that took special hold on 
the mind of Columbus. His copy of i\Iarco Polo 
may still be seen, its margins filled with annotations 
on such passages, made by the great navigator ;- 
and it was to these that his mind reverted when he 

^ Pigeonneaii, Histoire dii Commerce d^ la France, II., 12, etc. 
^ Vignaud, Toscanelli and Columbus, 95. 


had discovered in the West Indies, as he beheved, 
the outlying parts of the Khan's dominions/ 

To the westward also ancient knowledge was re- 
acquired and made clearer. The '' Forttinate Isles" 
were rediscovered and identified as the Canaries by 
the Italian Lancelot Malocello in 1270,^ then for- 
gotten and rediscovered in 1341 ^ by some Portu- 
guese ships, manned by Genoese, Florentines, Cas- 
tilians, and Portuguese. In 1291 Tedisio Doria and 
Ugolino Vivaldi, Genoese citizens, equipped two 
galleys and sailed out through the Straits of Gibral- 
tar and then to the southward, with the object of 
reaching the ports of India, but were never heard 
of again. ^ Both the Madeira Islands and the Azores 
became known as early as 1330, though perhaps only 
in a shadowy way, and were visited from time to 
time later in the fourteenth century, before they 
were regularly occupied in the fifteenth.^ 

Through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, 
therefore, thanks for the most part to Italian trav- 
ellers, substantial gains were made in exactitude and 
clearness of knowledge of the Old World. Though 
the bounds of geographical knowledge were not 
carried much farther, and less than one-fourth of 

^ Columbus's journal, October 21, 23, 24, 26, 30, Novem- 
ber I, etc. 

2 Beazley, Hakluyt See, Publications, 1899, Ixi., Ixxviii. 

^ Ibid., Ixxx.; Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 37. 

* Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, 36. 

^ Nordenskiold, Periplus, 111-115; Major, Prince Henry the 
Navigator, chaps, v., viii., xiv. 


the surface of the globe was as yet known to Eu- 
ropeans, within these bounds knowledge became far 
more clear. 

Ignorance and superstition were still abundant ; a 
mythical kingdom of Prester John was believed by 
one geographer to exist in Africa, by another to be 
situated in India, and by still another to be in China ; 
the Atlantic was still dreaded by some as the dark, 
unknown limit of the world ; ignorant men may still 
have believed that the sea boiled at the equator, 
and that men with dogs' heads and other monsters 
had each its own part of the earth; but Italians of 
any education, especially those acquainted with the 
writings of their countrymen, must have been quite 
free from such mediaeval notions. By the year 
1400 scientijfic information, critical habits of thought, 
and an interest in all forms of knowledge had reached 
in Italy a high degree of development and were fast 
spreading through Europe. 

The theory that the earth was roimd was familiar 
to the Greeks and Romans, and was supported in 
the Middle Ages by the great authority of Aristotle.* 
The only difficulties lying in the way of an accept- 
ance of this view through the mediseval period were, 
in the first place, the mental effort required to con- 
ceive the earth as round when its visual appearance 
is flat; and, secondly, the opposition of churchmen, 
who interpreted certain texts in the Bible in such a 
way as to forbid the conception of the earth as a 

^ Aristotle, De CcbIo, IL, 14. 


sphere. Yet neither of these influences was strong 
enough to prevail over the opinions of the majority 
of learned men. To them the earth was round, as 
it was to Aristotle, Ptolemy, and other ancients.^ 
The ball which the Eastern emperors carried as an 
emblem of the world-wide extent of their rule, and 
which was borrowed from them by various mediae- 
val potentates, had probably not lost its meaning. 
Dante, in the Divina Commedta, not only plans his 
Inferno on the supposition of a spherical earth, but 
takes for granted the same conception on the part 
of his readers.^ 

The conception of the sphericity of the earth was 
really a matter of mental training. In the fifteenth 
century those who had gained this knowledge were 
fewer than in modem times, but the class who did 
so believe were no less sure of it. Astronomers, 
philosophers, men of general learning, and even 
navigators and pilots were quite familiar with the 
idea and quite in the habit of thinking of the earth 
as a sphere. In all probability Columbus repre- 
sented the beliefs of his class, as well as his own, when 
he said, " I have always read that the world, compris- 
ing the land and the water, is spherical, as is testi- 
fied by the investigations of Ptolemy and others, 
who have proved it by the eclipses of the moon 
and other observations made from east to west, as 
well as by the elevation of the pole from north to 

* Ruge, Zeiialter der Entdeckungen. 
' Inferno, canto 34, lines 100-108. 


south." ^ Opposition to voyages westward was 
based rather on the probability of the enormous 
size of the earth and on the supposed difficulty of 
sailing up the slope of the sphere than it was upon 
any serious doubt of its sphericity. 

The habitable world was quite a different con- 
ception. It consisted of Europe, Asia, and Africa, 
these three continents forming a continuous stretch 
of land lying on the surface of the spherical earth, 
the rest of its surface being presumably covered with 
water. There was more or less speculation about 
the existence of other habitable lands on the earth 
than those which were known, but the interest in 
this possibility was languid at best, and it was de- 
nied by learned churchmen on biblical groimds. 

The map-makers of that period continued, like 
those of the earlier Middle Ages, to base their work 
on mere half - mythical traditions, unrelieved and 
uncorrected by the results of actual discoveries. 
Their maps are still much like picture-books, filled 
with biblical and literary lore, indicating but a 
slight attempt to incorporate exact measurements 
and outlines. A development more revolutionary 
than the mere gradual increase of knowledge was 
necessary to break the bonds of academic tradition.^ 

Just at the beginning of the fourteenth century, 

^ Hakluyt Soc, Publications, Hist, of Columbus — Third Voyage, 
II., 129. 

2 Santarem, Essqi sur I'Histoire de la Cosmographie, I., 75, 
167, 178, 


however, a new line was struck out in map-making 
by the construction and steady development of sail- 
ing charts, or "portolani." These humble attempts 
at geographical representation were intended as prac- 
tical aids to navigation for Mediterranean mariners, 
and were based on practical observation. During 
the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries they 
reached a wonderful degreee of accuracy. The 
coasts, bays, islands, and promontories of the Medi- 
terranean were plotted out in them and drawn with 
striking correctness. Some four hundred such 
sketch-maps remain to us, drawn by Italians from 
the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, besides 
nearly a hundred made in other countries.^ They 
did not undertake to give the internal features of the 
countries whose coast-lines they depicted, and as 
their main purpose was to aid Mediterranean trade, 
they did not extend so far beyond its shore as the 
erudition of the age would have made possible. 

The best of the world maps of the fifteenth cen- 
tury were based on these Italian portolani rather 
than on mediaeval maps, and at the same time added 
such enlarged information as became common in the 
Italy of the fifteenth century.^ 

Thus, at the very beginning of the fifteenth cen- 
tury European explorers had the benefit of the 
traditional ancient geography, of the new exactness 
of knowledge drawn from the observations of recent 

^ Beazley, in Hakluyt Soc, Publications, 1899, cxx. 
^ Ibid., cxxi., etc. 

Till-: LATREN'r 

AXO OF I 35 1 


travellers, of the accurate but limited portolani of the 
Italian navigators, and finally of the more preten- 
tious, if vague and often misleading, world maps of 
learned geographers. If a sailor wished to navigate 
the Mediterranean and its adjacent waters, if he 
planned to sail up the coast of Europe to the British 
Isles and on into the Baltic, or to pass down the At- 
lantic coast of Africa to Cape Nun, he might rely 
on the maps and charts which the Italian geographers 
could furnish him. Or if he launched his galleys 
on the Red Sea he might use their guidance down 
the east coast of Africa to the equator. He would 
also find tolerably accurate descriptions of all the 
southern coasts of Asia. In the interior a traveller 
by land could know beforehand the main features 
of the countries he might traverse. Beyond these 
limits, either by sea or by land, geographical knowl- 
edge must be sought by discovery or followed along 
the lines of dim report. If European sailors should 
follow the coast of Africa below the twenty-seventh 
parallel of north latitude, or of Europe above the 
sixtieth, or if they should direct their course into 
the western ocean beyond the Azores, they would be 
sailing into the tmknown, and whatever they should 
find would be fresh acquisition. 

The two instruments which were the most requi- 
site for distant voyaging, the compass and the as- 
trolabe (the predecessor of the quadrant), were al- 
ready, in 1400, known and used by Mediterranean 
navigators. The property of turning towards the 


north, possessed by a magnetized needle, was cer- 
tainly known as early as the close of the twelfth 
century; and even its use by sailors to find their 
directions when the sun and stars were obscured. 
More than one mediaeval writer describes the process 
by which a needle is rubbed on a piece of magnetic 
iron, then laid on a straw or attached to a piece of 
cork, and floated on water till its point turns tow- 
ards the north star.^ But its properties savored of 
magic; the earlier sailors, who hugged the shore, 
scarcely needed it, and it came into general use 
as slowly and imperceptibly as most of the other 
great inventions of the world. 

The introduction of the compass into general use 
is, by tradition, ascribed to the Italian city of Amalfi, 
and it is easy to believe that the enterprising sailors 
of this commercial republic brought it into estab- 
lished recognition. By the early years of the fif- 
teenth century the compass was provided with the 
card, marked with the directions, placed in the com- 
pass-box, and made a well-known part of the equip- 
ment of the navigator.^ The mariner could now 
tell his directions wherever he might be, and the 
spider-web net-work of "compass-roses" on many 
of the early maps shows how anxious the map-maker 

* Alexander Neckham, De Utensilihus; De Natura Rerum, 
book II., chap, xcviii.; Guyot de Provins, La Bible; Jacques 
de Vitry, Historia Orientalis ; Brunetto Latini, EpistolcE, who 
mentions Roger Bacon as showing him a magnet at Oxford 
in 1258. Quoted in Beazley, Hakluyt Soc, Publications, 1899, 
cxliv., etc. ' Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chap, ix. 


was to provide lines along which the navigator 
might lay his course according to his compass. 
The makers of the better class of portolani evi- 
dently had the use of the compass in drawing their 

The changed position of the heavenly bodies 
as the early traveller passed northward or south- 
ward struck him with especial force. Marco Polo, 
describing the island of Sumatra, says, "But let 
me tell you one marvellous thing, and that is the 
fact that this island lies so far to the south that the 
north star, little or much, is never to be seen." ^ 
He also notes on his journey northward through 
India, when he sees it again, '*two cubits above the 
water." When Cadamosto, the Venetian, saw the 
pole-star at '* the third of a lance's length above the 
edge of the waves," he recorded it as one of the most 
striking phenomena of his journey towards the 

Two instruments were known by which the ele- 
vation above the horizon of the pole-star, or any 
other heavenly body could be measured. The older 
of these was the "cross-staff," or St. James's staff, a 
simple rod marked into degrees, at the end of which 
the eye was placed and along which a measured 
cross-piece was pushed, till one of its ends hid a 
point on the horizon and the other the sim or star 
whose height was being measured. The astrolabe 

^ Santarem, Essai sur VHistoire de la Cosmographie, I., 
280-305. 2 Marco Polo (Yule's ed.), book III., chap, ix. 


was a somewhat more elaborate instrument, con- 
sisting of a brass circle marked with degrees, 
against which two movable bars were fastened, 
each provided at the ends with a sight or pro- 
jecting piece pierced by a hole. This was himg by 
a ring from a peg in the mast or from the hand, so 
that gravity would make one of its bars horizon- 
tal. Then the other bar was sighted to point tow- 
ards some heavenly body. Chaucer, in 1400, gave to 
his "litel Lowis my sone" an astrolabe calculated 
" after the latitude of Oxenford," and wrote a charm- 
ing treatise to explain to him in English its use, 
"for Latin ne canstow yit but smal, my lyte sone." 
In this treatise he described to him, among other 
things, "diverse tables of longitudes and latitudes 
of sterres." ^ 

By means of either of these instruments latitude 
could be measured or calculated. Longitude was a 
more difficult problem; it involved the calculation 
of the difference of time as well as mxeasurements 
of elevation of the heavenly bodies. The calcula- 
tions necessary to discover actual locations from 
an observation were too long and complicated to 
be made on each occasion; and "ephemerides," or 
calculated tables of elevations of planets and of 
differences of time, were required. Just when the 
earliest of such tables were constructed and when 
chronometers came into use is obscure, but they 

^ Chaucer, -4 Treatise on the Astrolabe, Prologue; Skeat, The 
Student's Chaucer, 396. 


were in existence in at least a rudimentary form 
early in the fifteenth century/ 

The condition of Europe early in the fifteenth 
century as compared with its condition early in the 
thirteenth shows a great advance in those lines 
which made extensive exploration possible, and 
this advance was chiefly due to Italians. Increased 
knowledge, improved equipment, instruments of 
astronomical observation, navigating charts, and a 
race of educated navigators, made a part of the Eu- 
ropean background of American history as truly as 
did the incentive to exploration afforded by the 
search for new routes to the East. Of course much 
progress remained to be accomplished in the making 
of maps and globes, in the improvement of instru- 
ments, and in the calculation of tables during the 
period of discovery. The awakened scientific in- 
terest which had already shown itself as part of the 
Renaissance found scope in the practical require- 
ments of distant voyages. While men were dis- 
covering new continents and seas, they were at the 
same time solving many problems of geographical 
science and perfecting the equipment by which fur- 
ther advance was made practicable. 

* Humboldt, Examen Critique, I., 274. 



THE great period of explorations, of which the 
discovery of America was a part, lay between 
the years 1485 and 1520, between the discovery of 
the Cape of Good Hope by Diaz and the circum- 
navigation of the globe by the ships of Magellan. 
Long before this period of fruition, however, there 
was a significant movement of discovery, and an 
important acquisition of knowledge, experience, and 
boldness in exploration. This early dawn, prepara- 
tory to the later day, consisted in a series of dis- 
coveries on the west coast of Africa, due to the 
energy of the Portuguese and to the enlightenment 
of their great Prince Henry. 

Portugal was especially fitted to be the pioneer in 
modem maritime exploration. Without geograph- 
ical or racial separation from the rest of the Iberian 
peninsula, the national distinctness of Portugal was 
largely a matter of sentiment gathering around the 
sovereign. The nationality of Portugal had been 
created in the first place by the policy of its rulers, 
and preserved by them until the growth of separate 



material interests, a national language and literature, 
and traditions of glorious achievements confirmed 
the separateness of the Portuguese nationality from 
that of Spain. 

The desire to hold aloof from other Spanish coun- 
tries turned the attention of the king of Portugal to 
more distant alliances, and the open western sea- 
board naturally suggested that these should be with 
maritime states. In 1294 a treaty of commerce 
was signed with England. A century later, 1386, 
a much closer alliance with that country was formed 
and a new treaty signed at Windsor.* This was fol- 
lowed in the next year by a marriage between the 
king of Portugal and Philippa, daughter of the Eng- 
lish John of Gaunt and first cousin of King Richard. 
This "Treaty of Windsor" was renewed again and 
again by succeeding English and Portuguese sov- 
ereigns, and remained the foundation of their rela- 
tionship imtil it was superseded long afterwards 
by still closer treaty arrangements. With Flanders, 
Portugal had frequent peaceful intercourse, both in 
trade and in diplomacy. A Venetian fleet also 
called from time to time at the harbor of Lisbon on 
the way to and from England and Flanders, and 
thus brought Portugal into contact with the great 
Italian republic, and may have aroused an interest 
in the far Eastern trade products of which loaded 
the galleys. 

The contract before referred to by which Emanuel 

* Rymer, Fcedera, II., 667, VII,, 515-523. 


Pesagno was made hereditary lord high admiral, in 
131 7, continued to be fulfilled by the descendants 
of the first great admiral through the whole four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries, and kept up a con- 
stant connection with Genoa/ Thus the associa- 
tions of Portugal were with a line of seaboard states 
extending from England to Italy. After 1263 the 
maritime interests of the Portuguese kings became 
more distinct by their conquest from the Moors of 
the kingdom of Algarves, giving them a southern as 
well as a western sea-coast.^ 

It was at Sagres, on Cape St. Vincent, which juts 
out into the open Atlantic Ocean on the extreme 
southwest of this province, that Henry, the fifth son 
of John II. of Portugal, established his dwelling-place 
in 1 41 9, and created a centre of maritime interest 
and a base of exploring effort which was of world- 
wide influence. Henry was duke of Viseu, lord of 
Cavailham, viceroy of Algarves, and grand master 
of the Order of Christ. He had no wife or chil- 
dren; his private estate was, therefore, available 
for the expenses of exploring voyages ; and projects 
of geographical discovery became his chief occupa- 
tion. Whatever other duties or services were re- 
quired of him on account of his membership in the 
royal family, he always returned to Sagres and to 
his exploring expeditions. He possessed also the 

^ M. G. Canale. Storia del Commercio, Viaggi, &c., degV Italiani, 
book II., chap, x., etc., quoted by Payne, New World, 96. 
' Stephens, Hist, of Portugal, 8i. 


interest and support of his father and brother, who 
successively occupied the throne. After his death 
his work was carried on by his nephew, King Alfonso 
V. The work of Henry was, therefore, substantially 
the concern of the whole royal family of Portugal 
for three generations.^ 

Prince Henry "the Navigator," as he has come 
to be called, gathered around him a body of men 
trained as sailors; he learned the use of charts and 
instruments, taught these arts to his captains, and 
ultimately made the neighboring port of Lagos the 
most famous point in the world for the departure 
and return of exploring expeditions.^ During forty 
years expedition after expedition was equipped al- 
most yearly and sent down along the west coast of 
Africa, in the effort to solve its mystery and, if 
possible, to sail around its southern extremity. 

In the process of exploration Prince Henry was 
governed by some of the strongest of human im- 
pulses. The crusading spirit was hot within him, and 
he hoped to continue in Africa the old struggle of the 
Portuguese Christians against the Moorish infidels. 
Gentler missionary ideals caused him to plan to 
spread Christianity into new lands, and to make 
connection with Prester John, the Christian ruler 
of the India which lay to the eastward of Africa.^ 

^ Major, Prince Henry the Navigator, chaps, iv., vi., xiii., xviii, 
2 Nordenskiold, Periplus, 121 A. For discussion of divergent 

views of Prince Henry's "school of navigation," see Beazley, 

in Hakluyt Soc, Publications, 1899, cvi.-cxii. 
^ Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chaps, vii., xvi. 


His interest in trade was equally strong; he was 
familiar with the internal trade of Africa, and he 
lost no opportunity of developing traffic along the 

Yet it was the instinct of the explorer that in- 
spired Prince Henry with the steady devotion to 
his life work. The fine curiosity which placed geo- 
graphical discovery above all material gain, and re- 
warded his captains, not in proportion to what they 
had accomplished, but in proportion to the efforts 
they had made to carry the boimdaries of knowl- 
edge farther, kept him and them intent on the work 
of exploration.^ Henry possessed, at the beginning 
of his explorations, little more than the traditional 
geographical conceptions of the later Middle Ages. 
Besides some twelve or fourteen extant fourteenth- 
century maps drawn by Italian draughtsmen, which 
were probably all known to Henry, his brother 
Pedro gave him one which has since disappeared, 
which had been constructed at Venice, and which 
"had all the parts of the world and earth de- 
scribed."^ He was probably also familiar with 
the classical tales of the circumnavigation of Africa. 

Besides this he had some important personal 
knowledge. During a Portuguese invasion of the 
Barbary states of Africa in 141 5, in which Prince 
Henry served with his father and brothers, and 

* Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chap. vii. 
2 Bourne, " Prince Henry the Navigator," in Essays in His- 
torical Criticism, 173-189. ' Major, Prince Henry, 62. 


later when he was himself in command, he found 
that there were caravan routes whose termini were 
at Ceuta and other Mediterranean towns. From 
the Sahara and the Soudan, across the desert, came 
caravans to the Mediterranean coast bringing gold, 
wine, and slaves, and news of trading routes far to 
the southward. 

Moreover, these routes extended to rivers and sea- 
coasts imknown to Europeans, which must, never- 
theless, be connected with the open Atlantic Ocean, 
and might well be on the southern shore of that 
continent. "He got news of the passage of mer- 
chants from the coast of Tunis to Timbuctoo and 
to Cantor on the Gambia, which inspired him to 
seek those lands by way of the sea." ^ "The tawny 
Moors, his prisoners, told him of certain tall palms 
growing at the mouth of the Senegal or western 
Nile, by which he was able to guide the caravels 
which he sent out to find that river." ^ 

The first decade of Henry's efforts, from 1420 to 
1430, resulted in little in the way of new discovery. 
The Madeira and Azores islands were rediscovered 
and their full exploration and permanent coloniza- 
tion begim. Every year saw one or more caravels 
sent from Lagos southward to follow the coast of the 
main-land ; but they skirted no shores that were not 
desert, and turned back baffled by their own fears. 
Cape Boyador long remained a barrier whose imagi- 

^ Diego Gomez, quoted in Beazley, Introduction to Azurara's 
Chronicle (Hakluyt Soc, Publications, 1899). ^ Ibid. 


nary dangers of reef and shoal served as an excuse 
for the still more unreal horrors of the "Sea of 

The next decade saw better results. In 1434 
Gil Eannes, one of the boldest of the captains who 
were growing up in Prince Henry's service, when he 
reached Boyador, sailed far out to sea, doubled the 
cape, and, returning to the coast, landed and gath- 
ered "St. Mary's roses," and took them home to 
the prince as a memento of the "farthest South." ^ 
The greatest barrier had been passed, that of super- 
stitious dread, and almost every voyage now brought 
its result of progress farther southward. Soon the 
boundaries of Islam were passed, for natives were 
foimd on the coast who were not Mohammedans. 

The third decade saw still further advance. In 
1 44 1 Nuno Tristam discovered Cape Blanco, the 
"White Cape," glistening with the white sand of 
the Sahara. In 1445 Dinis Diaz, of Lisbon, sailed 
at last beyond the desert and reached Cape Verd, 
the "Green Cape,"- fifteen hundred miles down 
the African coast, and as far from Gibraltar south 
as Constantinople was east. By this time the cap- 
tains of Prince Henry had reached the fertile and 
populous shores where the western Soudan borders 
on the Atlantic Ocean, and a new obstacle to further 
exploration revealed itself in the attraction and the 
profit of the slave-trade. 

* Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chap. ix. 
' Ibid., chap. xxxi. 


The first ''Moors" or negroes were some ten or 
twelve captured and brought home in the year 
1 44 1 by Antam Gongalvez, to satisfy the curiosity 
of the prince and to obtain information useful for 
the further prosecution of the voyages. Others were 
soon brought for other purposes. Of the two him- 
dred and thirty-five Moors who made up the first 
full cargo of human freight, the prince gave away the 
fifty-six which fell to his share as one-fifth, although 
it is recorded with the somewhat grotesque piety of 
the fifteenth century that "he reflected with great 
pleasure on the salvation of their souls that before 
were lost." * 

There is no reason to believe that Henry planned 
or wished the development of a trade in slaves ; ^ 
but labor was scarce on the great estates of southern 
Portugal, slaves w^ere in demand, and very different 
desires from those of the prince might be gratified 
by capturing and bringing to the slave-market of 
Lagos the unfortunate natives of the newly discov- 
ered coasts. Hence one expedition after another, 
sent out for purposes of discovery, returned, bring- 
ing tales of failure to reach farther points on the 
coast, but laden with human booty to be sold. Pri- 
vate adventurers sought and obtained the prince's 
permission to send out caravels, and these also 

^ Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chap. xxv. 

^ The statement to the contrary in the Cambridge Modern 
Hist., I., 10, is not deducible from any contemporary evi- 

VOL. I. — 2 


brought home cargoes of slaves. Only the most 
vigorous pressure, exercised on the choicest spirits 
among the Portuguese captains, served now to carry- 
discoveries farther. 

Nevertheless, a basis of interest in distant voy- 
ages had been found which had not existed before; 
and the further exploration of the African coast was 
certain, even in default of the personal enlighten- 
ment and enthusiasm of the Navigator. The ex- 
peditions sent by the prince and private voyages 
made familiar to the mariners of Portugal two thou- 
sand miles of coast instead of six hundred as of old. 
Guinea was eventually reached. 

In 1455 the Venetian Cadamosto entered into 
Henry's service; and, followed closely b}?- Diego 
Gomez, discovered the Cape Verd Islands and passed 
so far around the shoulder of northwestern Africa 
as not only to reach the ends of the caravan routes 
from Morocco, and to open up trade in gold, ivory, 
and the products of the Guinea coast, but to sug- 
gest that there was open sea now all the way east- 
ward to India. The temporary disappointment of 
finding that this was not true was left to the succes- 
sors of Prince Henry, for his death occurred in 1460. 
But the work was still carried on by his nephew, 
Alfonso v., and by the next king of Portugal, 
John II. 

A series of bold pilots now passed beyond the 
whole Guinea coast, crossed the equator, and 
made their way down almost two thousand miles 


more of the African coast. The behef became as- 
sured that ' ' ships which sailed down the coast of 
Guinea might be sure to reach the end of the land by 
persisting to the south"; and stone pillars six feet 
high were ordered to be erected at landing-places to 
indicate possession and mark the stages of the route 
to the Indies. 

Finally, in i486, Bartholomew Diaz, the third 
member of his family to take part in the discov- 
eries of Prince Henry, with two vessels sailed the 
remaining distance on the coast, and passed so far 
to the eastward that his sailors m.utinied and re- 
fused to go farther. Diaz then suddenly realized 
that, notwithstanding the necessity for his return, 
he had at last fotmd the passage-way to India 
dreamed of through so many ages and sought for 
at such heavy cost. 

A period of still greater discoveries was already 
at hand. ''It was in Portugal," says Ferdinand Co- 
lumbus, ''that the admiral began to surmise that if 
men could sail so far south, one might also sail west 
and find lands in that direction." The Portuguese 
were so wedded to the search for the southeast route, 
and it was so nearly achieved at this time, that their 
interest was but languid in the plans for a search to 
the westward. Another people therefore took it up, 
and soon the exploration of the New World was in 
full tide, and the period of pioneer effort passed into 
the era of great accomplishment. 

Meanwhile Portugal saw the fruition of Prince 


Henry's work in the circumnavigation of Africa. 
Ten years later than the exploit of Diaz, in 1496, a 
fleet sailed from Lisbon imder Vasco da Gama which 
was destined to round the Cape, make its way up 
the east coast of Africa till familiar parts of the 
Indian Ocean were reached; then to sail across to 
India, cast anchor, and secure cargo in Calicut and 
many other ancient ports; and to return thence 
safely to its port of departure/ The Portuguese 
search for a new route to the lands of Eastern prod- 
ucts was thus successful; ard once found, this path 
became familiar. The fleet of Cabral in 1500 im- 
mediately followed that of Da Gama, and, driven 
to the westward as it sailed to the south, dis- 
covered Brazil, as a casual incident of its success- 
ful voyage to India. Thus, if the voyage of Co- 
lumbus had never been undertaken, America would 
have been found within less than a decade. 

Albuquerque followed around the southeast pas- 
sage in 1503; a permanent traffic between Portugal 
and India was established, and thereafter yearly 
fleets of merchant and war vessels rounded the Cape. 
Soon most of the points of vantage of the Indies 
were in Portuguese control — Ormuz, Diu, Goa, 
Ceylon, Malacca — and the enterprising little western 
state had trade settlements in Burma, China, and 
Japan. ^ The private path of the Portuguese ul- 

^ The First Voyage of Vasco da Gama, in Hakluyt Soc, Pub' 
lications, 1898. 

2 Hunter, Hist, of British India, I,, 1 10-133. 

40° 30° 

LoBghod. 2«^ W««r 

0' fcoogiluJe- lO-* Eul 20* A;i)in 30* ©nXowRli AQ' 


timately became the public highway of the nations. 
Spain, Holland, England, and France sent fleets 
around the Cape of Good Hope, and made use of 
the route to the East which the Portuguese had dis- 

The actual progress of scientific knowledge and 
practical equipment for navigation made at Sagres, 
Lagos, Lisbon, and on the seas, during the voyages 
sent out by Prince Henry and his immediate suc- 
cessors, is unfortunately not accurately known ; but 
some glimpses of it may be obtained. *' In his wish 
to gain a prosperous result of his efforts," says an 
almost contemporary historian, ''the Prince de- 
voted great industry and thought to the matter, and 
at great expense procured the aid of one Master 
Jacome from Majorca, a man skilled in the art of 
navigation and in the making of maps and instru- 
ments, and who was sent for, with certain of the 
Arab and Jewish mathematicians, to instruct the 
Portuguese." ^ 

When trained Italian navigators applied to Henry, 
as was the case with the Venetian Cadamosto, they 
were readily taken into his service, and he sent word 
by them that he would heartily welcome any other 
such volunteers. When the prince's work fell into 
the hands of his nephew, King John, the latter ap- 
pointed the German Behaim, of Nuremberg, who 
lived in Lisbon from 1480 to 1484, to be one of the 

^ De Barros, Decadas da Asia, quoted in Beazley, Henry the 
Navigator, 161. 


four members of his " Jimto de Mathematicos." It 

was Behaim who introduced to the Portuguese the 
improved ephemerides calculated by the German 
Regiomontanus, and printed at Nuremberg in 1474. 
He also improved the astrolabe and the staff, drew 
charts and made globes, and accompanied one of 
the West- African expeditions in 1489/ 

Diego Gomez, one of Henry's captains, remarks, in 
describing his voyage of 1460, "I had a quadrant 
with me and wrote on the table of it the altitude of 
the arctic pole, and I found it better than the chart; 
for though you see your course of sailing on the 
chart well enough, yet if once you get wrong it is 
hard by map alone to work back into the right 
course." ^ Azurara also contrasts the incorrect 
charts with which Henry's sailors were provided 
before their explorations with those corrected by 
the later observations.^ His navigators, therefore, 
used the compass, the quadrant, and carefully con- 
structed charts ; but their advances in the use of this 
equipment are not recorded. 

The first portolano to note the discoveries on the 
coast of Africa made by the Portuguese was that 
of Gabriele de Valsecca, of Majorca (1434-1439). 
A map drawn by Andrea Bianco, of Venice, at Lon- 
don in 1448, seems to have been intended especially 
to indicate them, as it gives twenty-seven new names 

* Major, Prince Henry the Navigator, 326-328. 

2 Quoted, in Beazley, Henry the Navigator, 297, 298. 

^ Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chap. Ixxvi. 


along the coast to the south of Cape Boyador. But 
the map which was distinctively the outcome of the 
new discoveries was the so-called " Camaldolese map 
of Fra Mauro," drawn by Mauro, Bianco, and other 
draughtsmen during the year 1457, in the convent 
of Murano in Venice. King Alfonso of Portugal 
himself paid the expenses of its construction, and 
sent charts showing the recent discoveries. It in- 
cluded all the new knowledge obtained up to that 
time by Prince Henry's explorers. It is the first 
large map drawn with the exactness and the reliance 
on observed facts of the portolano, notwithstanding 
the fact that it included a larger part of the earth's 
surface in its field than any earlier map. Though 
disappointing in some respects, it stands in the fore- 
front of improved modem maps, and not unworthily 
represents the advance made in the knowledge of 
the world's surface as a result of the Portuguese 
efforts up to that time. 

The scientific importance of the discoveries of 
the Portuguese and the intellectual alertness of 
the Italians are alike illustrated by an incident that 
occurred at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella in 
1 49 1. Columbus having explained to the sover- 
eigns his scheme for a western voyage to reach the 
Indies, most of the Spanish prelates who were pres- 
ent declared his ideas heretical, supporting them- 
selves upon the authority of St. Augustine and 
Nicholas de Lyra. Alessandro Geraldini, an Italian, 
preceptor of the royal children, who was standing be- 


hind Cardinal Mendoza at the time, ''represented to 
him that Nicholas de Lyra and St. Augustine had 
been, without doubt, excellent theologians but only 
mediocre geographers, since the Portuguese had 
reached a point of the other hemisphere where they 
had ceased to see the pole-star and discovered an- 
other star at the opposite pole, and that they had 
even fotmd all the cotmtries situated under the 
torrid zone fully peopled." ^ 

In ship-building Henry and his navigators made 
positive progress. The Venetian Cadamosto testi- 
fies that "his caravels did much excel all other 
sailing ships afloat." Many varieties of vessels are 
mentioned in the records of Prince Henry's time — 
the barca, barinel, caravel, nau, fusta; the galley, 
galiot, galeass, and galleon ; the brigantine and car- 
rack. Of all these the caravel became the favor- 
ite for the long, exploring voyages. It was usually 
from sixty to one himdred feet long and eighteen 
to twenty-five feet broad, and of about two hundred 
tons burden. It had three masts with lateen sails 
stretched on the oblique yards which were swung 
from the masthead, and was steered, at least partly, 
by the turning of these great, swinging sails. ^ John II. 
encouraged the immigration of English and Danish 
ship-builders and carried improvements still further. 

^ Mariejol, L'Espagne sons Ferdinand et Isahelle, 96. 

^ Revista Portuguesa Colonial (May 20, 1898), 32-52, quoted 
in Beazley, Introdttction to Azurara's Chronicle (Hakluyt Soc, 
Publications, 1899, p. cxii.). 


The greatest service to navigation done by Prince 
Henry and his successors was that of providing a 
school of sea-training. Not only were the whole 
group of early Portuguese explorers, Henry's own 
captains, "brought up from boyhood in the house- 
hold of the Infant," ^ but there was scarcely a 
name great in navigation in the succeeding period 
which had not in some way been connected with 
these voyages. Diaz, Da Gama, Albuquerque, Da 
Cunha, Cabral, and the other captains who made the 
Portuguese empire in the East ; Magellan, who found 
still another way to India by the southwest; Este- 
vam Gomez, who sailed to the arctic seas; Bartholo- 
mew and Christopher Columbus, — were all taught or 
practised in that school. Columbus lived in Lisbon 
from 1470 to 1484, married there the daughter of 
Bartholomew Perestrello, the discoverer and cap- 
tain-general under Prince Henry of Porto Santo in 
the Madeiras; and, besides his voyages on the Med- 
iterranean and to England and Iceland, went re- 
peatedly to the coast of Guinea and lived for some 
years in the Madeiras. Between 1477 ^'^^ 1484 he 
was regularly engaged in the maritime service of 
the Portuguese crown. 

Besides these great names, many navigators who 
had only local repute or have remained nameless were 
Portuguese in birth and training, and belonged to 
the same maritime school. In 1502, close upon the 
English grants of exploring and trading rights to the 
* Azurara, Discovery of Guinea, chap. xiii. 


Cabots, came a similar concession to ''Hugh Elliott 
and Thomas Ashehurst, merchants of Bristol, and 
to John Gunsalus and Francis Fernandez, Esq., sub- 
jects of the king of Portugal."^ The expedition of 
the French captain De Gonneville to Brazil, in 1503, 
was guided by two Portuguese pilots;^ and twenty 
of the sailors on Magellan's Spanish fleet of 15 19, 
besides the commander, were Portuguese.^ Three 
vessels from Dieppe, imder Portuguese pilotage, in 
1527, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and visited 
Madagascar, Sumatra, and the coast of India. ^ 

Actual skill in navigating vessels was increased 
and developed to a high degree in the struggle with 
the adverse maritime conditions on the coast of 
Africa. The violent and disturbing currents, the 
terrible surf of the beaches, the cyclones of the 
Guinea coast, the trade-winds, which were always 
head-winds to the mariners returning from the south- 
west, the uncharted reefs and bars, all favored a 
school of seamanship which trained the Portuguese 
and Italian sailors to meet far worse difficulties than 
those likely to confront them in the later and more 
distant voyages to the westward. 

Other experiences of the Portuguese were later 
utilized by the Spaniards in their American colonies. 
The slave-trade was a sombre precedent, followed 

^ Rymer, Fcedera. ' Pigeonneau, Hist, du Commerce, II., 50. 

^ Navarrete, Coleccion, II., 12. 

* De Barros, Decadas da Asia (Madrid ed., 1615), 42 decade, 
book v., chap, vi., 296. 


only too readily ; the system of grants of newly dis- 
covered territory to captains or contractors who 
would continue its discovery or conquest, exploit its 
resources, and pay to the crown a large share of its 
products was followed, somewhat intermittently, in 
the West Indies and Central and South America/ 

One of the permanent lessons of the Portuguese 
explorations was the need for and effectiveness of 
royal or quasi-royal patronage. Italian expeditions 
bore no fruit and could bear none, for this require- 
ment of patronage was but ill-afforded by her mer- 
chant cities or even by her merchant princes. It 
was impossible for Venice or Genoa to take a part 
in the new discoveries and follow the new lines of 
trade, not only because of their unfavorable geo- 
graphical position, not only because they were then 
engaged in a desperate military and economic strug- 
gle to retain their old Levantine trade conquests 
and connections, not only because their wealth and 
prosperity were deeply smitten by their mutual 
struggles and their common losses from the repeated 
blows of the Ottoman conquest, but because Italy 
had no royal family to take under its patronage dis- 
tant discovery, conquest, trade, and colonization. 
Italy furnished most of the knowledge, the skill, and 
the individual enterprise that made the great period 
of explorations ; but Portugal, under the leadership 
of her great prince, was its true pioneer. 

* Bourne, Spain in America, chap. xiv. 




THE limits of Portuguese discovery and domin- 
ion were soon reached ; and as the fifteenth cen- 
tury advanced, Spain emerged not only as one of the 
great powers of Europe but as the first exploring, 
conquering, and colonizing nation of America. A 
century before any other European state obtained a 
permanent foothold in the New World, Spain began 
the creation of a great colonial empire there, which 
was soon occupied by her settlers, administered by 
a department of her government, converted by her 
missionaries, and made famous throughout Europe 
for the wealth which it brought to the mother- 
country. Such a work at such a time could only be 
accomplished by a vigorous and rising nation, and, 
in fact, Spanish advancement in Etirope during this 
period corresponded closely with her achievements 
in America. There are few recorded instances of a 
development so rapid and a transformation so com- 
plete as that which took place in Spain vmder Fer- 
dinand and Isabella, between 1474 and 15 16. 



For a career destined to be scarcely inferior to that 
of any of the great empires of history, Spain had at 
the beginning of this period an inadequate and un- 
developed political organization. Even that royal 
power which was the condition precedent to distant 
conquest and colonial organization was new. Span- 
ish national unity, royal absolutism, and religious 
imiformity, which were famous throughout Europe 
in the sixteenth century, were all of recent growth ; 
the centralized control over all parts of her widely 
scattered colonies which Spain, above all colonizing 
countries, exercised, was a power attained and a 
policy adopted only at the moment of the acquisition 
of those colonies. 

When, in 1474, Isabella inherited the crown of 
Castile, and, in 1479, her husband, Ferdinand, be- 
came king of Aragon, they united, by close personal 
and political bonds, what had formerly been near a 
score of domains, variously joined or detached. 

The king of Aragon had already incorporated 
into a personal imion three separate countries — the 
kingdom of Aragon, the kingdom of Valencia, and 
the ancient principality of Catalonia, each with its 
own body of representatives, its own law, its pecul- 
liar customs, and its separate administrative sys- 
tem. Castile was in name a political unity, having 
one monarch and one body of estates. Neverthe- 
less, its provinces represented well-marked ancient 
divisions. Leon had once been a separate kingdom, 
and was still coupled with Castile itself in the full 


title of that monarchy; while Galicia, Asturias, and 
the three Basque provinces were inhabited by peo- 
ples of different political history, of different stock, 
and living under different customs. Navarre, Gra- 
nada, and Portugal, although within the Iberian 
peninsula, were, at the accession of Ferdinand and 
Isabella, still independent ; though the first was des- 
tined to be united to Aragon, the second to Castile, 
and even the third was to be amalgamated for eigh- 
ty critical years with the greater monarchy. Thus 
Spain was a congeries of states, joined by the mar- 
riage bond of the two rulers of its principal divisions, 
but by no means yet a single monarchy or a united 
nation. It was the work of the Catholic sovereigns 
to carry this unification far towards completion by 
following common aims, by achieving success in 
many fields of common national interest, and by 
imposing the common royal power upon all diver- 
gent and warring classes and interests in the various 
Spanish states. 

The personality of Ferdinand and Isabella was the 
first great factor in the strengthening of the mon- 
archy; for they were both individuals of authority, 
energy, and ability.^ Their imion was the next 
element; for the royal power of the united mon- 
archies could be used to break down opposition in 
either. Great achievements in Spain and in Eu- 
rope increased their authority and power by the 
prestige of success. Finally, the discoveries, con- 
^ Bergenro th, Ca/. Letters and State Papers, Spain, I., 34, etc. 


quests, and colonization of America gave a iinique 
position to the rulers of these distant possessions. 
Not only did the products of the American mines 
and American commercial taxation furnish a mate- 
rial basis of strength and influence; not only did a 
great commercial marine and a great navy grow up 
aroimd the needs of intercourse with the colonies; 
but the romantic interest of the discoveries, the wild 
adventures, and the wonderful success of the con- 
quistadores, and the extent of the colonies, filled the 
imagination and gave an ideal greatness to the mon- 
archs in whose name these conquests were made, and 
by whom the New AVorld was ruled. 

There was need for all the authority of the new 
sovereigns at the time of their accession in 1474. 
Under the weak rule of Isabella's brother, Castile 
had become a prey to disorder amoimting almost to 
anarchy ; in Galicia brigandage was so common as to 
be imresisted, except by townsmen staying within 
their walls ; in Andalusia private warfare among the 
great noble houses had let loose all the forces of 
disorder and violence; Isabella's claim to the crown 
was disputed and her rival upheld by foreign sup- 
port.^ The united sovereigns met these difficulties 
with vigor, and the first two years of Isabella's rule 
in Castile gave repeated instances of victorious war- 
fare, of successful assertion of authority, and of harsh 
justice. The turbulent districts were reduced to 
order and the foreign invader expelled. 

^ Maurenbrecher, SUidien und Skizzen, 45, 46. 

VOL. I. — 8 


The disorder in Andalusia seemed to demand per- 
sonal action. In 1477, therefore, the two sovereigns 
made a formal entry into Seville, and the queen 
asserted her ro3^al power in a way that could not 
be misunderstood. In true patriarchal fashion she 
established her tribunal in the Alcazar, sitting in a 
chair on an elevated platform surrounded by her 
council and officers, in all solemnity and according 
to traditional forms, listening to the complaints of 
high and low, rich and poor, and granting summary 
justice to all who claimed it, irrespective of rank or 
means. Her decrees were carried out, ill-doers forced 
to make amends, and turbulent nobles reduced to 
promising to keep the peace. The visit of Isabella 
to Seville may well be taken as the beginning of the 
work of the new monarchy in Spain. ^ 

The next step towards an enforcement of royal 
authority taken by the new monarchs involved the 
acknowledgment of an institution seemingly inde- 
pendent of the monarchy. Spanish cities and com- 
munes had at various times formed hermandads, 
leagues or brotherhoods, to enforce order, to support 
themselves against great nobles, or to strengthen 
themselves for the carrying out of some object of 
common policy. Instances could be found in which 
their combined strength had been used against the 
king himself or his officials. On the other hand, 
their united power had been used efficaciously to 
form a sort of rural police, each city undertaking 

* Perez, Los Reyes Catolicos in Scvilla, 1477-1478, p. 13. 

1477] SPANfs&lldNARCHY " 85 

the protection of certain roads and stretches of 

Two influential ministers, with the approval of 
Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1476, obtained the agree- 
ment of the Cortes of Castile and of a junta of the 
towns for the formation of a santa hermandad, 
or *'holy brotherhood," for three years, for which 
rules were drawn up, submitted to the monarchs, and 
finally promulgated. The nobles gave a reluctant 
assent to the requirements of these rules, so far as 
they affected their estates and vassals. Altogether 
two thousand horsemen were to be equipped, each 
horseman supported by a body of one hundred 
households. These were grouped into companies 
under eight captains and placed in detachments at 
certain distances along all the roads. Besides 
the armed soldiers of the brotherhood, a whole 
system of alcaldes was organized with exclusive 
jurisdiction over certain kinds of offences. A 
common treasury existed for the support of ex- 

When any theft, assault, arson, or rape was dis- 
covered or complained of, immediately the bells 
were nmg, and the nearest detachment of soldiers 
of the brotherhood started on a pursuit which was 
carried to the boundaries of the next district, where 
its detachment took up the pursuit, and so on un- 
til the culprit was seized or the boimdaries of the 
kingdom reached. No town, house, or castle could 
^ Antequera, Hist, de la Legislacion Espanola, 194-197. 


refuse the right of search. When arrested, a de- 
cision of the nearest alcalde was given within five 
days. If convicted, the culprit had hand or foot cut 
off or was put to death. The favorite mode of exe- 
cution in earlier times had been to bind the offender 
to a stake, and shoot him with arrows "till he died 
naturally" ; but Isabella required that he should be 
hanged first, and that only then might his body be 
used as a target and a warning for others. The 
rapidity of pursuit and the certainty of capture of 
offenders, the promptitude of justice, and the bar- 
barism of the punishments made a strong impres- 
sion; and the combination of popular vengeance 
with official sanction made the hermandad an effec- 
tive form of national police. It was introduced 
into Aragon in 1488. 

Although this system seemed to emanate from 
the people, the general control over it was preserved 
by Ferdinand and Isabella by placing in influential 
positions in its administration trusted ministers of 
their own, and by joining themselves in its organi- 
zation. When its work of insuring order was meas- 
urably accomplished and the people began to com- 
plain of its expense, the sovereigns were able to 
transfer the military force into a contingent for the 
Moorish war, and the treasury into an addition to 
the commissariat for the same purpose. In 1498 
it was reduced to the proportions of a petty and 
inexpensive local police. It had proved itself, as 
utilized by these strong monarchs, a means of ob- 


taining order and recruiting an army without cost 
to the royal treasury. 

The vigor of the royal administration, however, 
expressed itself rather in the development of purely 
royal organs than in those which were so largely 
popular as the hermandad. A group of royal coun- 
cils became, \mder Ferdinand and Isabella, the most 
powerful instruments of the royal will, the most 
effective means for obtaining additional power and 
beating down all opposition. Early in the reign, 
the old royal council, which traditionally consisted 
of twelve members, including representatives of 
each of the three orders of the state, was reconsti- 
tuted so as to consist of one ecclesiastic, three nobles, 
and eight or nine letrados, or lawyers/ The last 
class, who made up its majority, were men learned 
in the Roman law, and therefore devoted to the 
idea of absolute monarchy; without connection 
with the church or the nobility, and therefore in- 
terested in the strengthening of the kingship against 
both; shrewd, trained, capable, and hard working. 

From this time forward the coimcil, in constant 
attendance on the king, well organized, provided 
with a corps of clerks and officers, and holding 
daily sessions, became the serviceable and effective 
auxiliary of royal power. It had duties of consulta- 
tion, advice, and in some cases decision, on matters 
of internal and external policy, of legislation and 
administration; and, in fact, of action in the whole 

^Cortes de los Antiguos Reinos, 112, etc. 


sphere of the affairs of state. In time the council 
was gradually subdivided into three bodies: the 
Council of Justice, the Council of State, and the 
Council of the Finances, whose functions were in- 
dicated by their titles. The first of these was, in a 
certain sense, the direct representative of the old 
single royal council, and was frequently known as 
the Council of Castile. Its president was always 
considered the highest personage in the kingdom, 
next the king; its members were of that class of 
letrados whom the king could most securely rely 
on, and to it fell the duty of enforcing the royal 
supremacy as against all ancient claims, privileges, 
and liberties. 

In addition to these outgrowths from the prim- 
itive council of the king, new councils were created 
from time to time, analogous in powers, but holding 
oversight over special spheres of national interest. 
Some of these were temporary, others permanent. 
Among them were the Council of the Hermandad, 
which lasted only for the twenty-two years of the 
existence of that institution; the Council of the 
Suprema, or of the Inquisition ; the Council of the 
Military Orders, the Council of the Indies, and the 
Council of Aragon.^ These great administrative 
boards were a characteristic part of the Spanish 
system of government, a natural outgrowth of its 
wide-spread fields of action. 

The Council of the Indies was constituted in 1 5 1 1 , 

* Antequera, Hist, de la Legislacion Espaflola, 347, 348. 


under the presidency of Juan de Fonseca, arch- 
deacon of Seville, and was exactly analogous to the 
other councils. It accompanied the king, and had 
under him all ultimate control in policy, in juris- 
diction, and in legislation over the Spanish posses- 
sions in America and in the East. Its members 
were habitually drawn from those men who had 
had experience as public servants in the West Indies 
or in the Philippines. The more direct oversight 
of individual voyages to the Indies, the regulation 
of details of colonial affairs, and a large sphere of 
general activity were possessed by the powerful Casa 
de Contractacion at Seville. A Bureau of Pilots 
also existed, whose office it was to collect nautical 
information, provide charts, and give assistance to 
Spanish navigators. But both of these offices were 
imder the control of the Council of the Indies.^ 

All these councils were stronger in discussion than 
in execution; their archives came to include a vast 
mass of records and special reports on subjects fall- 
ing within their respective fields, and their procedure 
favored penetrating investigation and full debate. 
But decision was hard to come at, and the con- 
sciousness that final decision after all rested with the 
king paralyzed effectiveness. The custom of sub- 
mitting all questions of policy to investigation by 
the appropriate council became invariable in later 
Spanish history, and it rCvSulted in cumbrous in- 

^ J. de Veitia Linage, The Spanish Rule of Trade to the West 
Indies, trans, by Captain J. Stevens, book I., chap, iii. 


effectiveness. Interminable inquiry and discussion 
ended frequently only in suspension of judgment or 
a divided report. Points of policy of imminent 
importance had to await a dilatory investigation and 
equivocal conclusions. This impotence of the central 
organs of government did not come in the time of 
Ferdinand and Isabella and their immediate suc- 
cessors, and the growing inefficiency of the councils 
was long overcome by the resolution of the mon- 
archs. Nevertheless the system was part of the 
price paid for centralized government, acting in- 
dependently of local initiative or independence. 

The preponderance of power that was being ob- 
tained by the sovereigns in the affairs of central 
government by means of the royal councils was 
gained in the local affairs of provinces, towns, 
and communes, by the appointment of corregidores. 
Such officials were appointed from time to time 
by earlier sovereigns to represent them in various 
towns, but the system had never been extended 
widely. In 1480 the king and queen sent one or 
more corregidores into every self-governing town 
and city in Castile where such officials did not exist 
already.^ They were to act alongside of the older 
local regidores and alcaldes as special representa- 
tives of the crown, defending its rights and claims, 
and fulfilling its duties of general oversight and 
protection. As a matter of fact, the great work 
they accompHshed was the enforcement of royal 
1 Pulgar, Cronica de los Reyes, II., chap. xcv. 


supremacy over local privileges. Little by little 
they extended their powers and encroached upon the 
old local self-government, bringing to bear all the 
weight of the central government upon local con- 
ditions/ The steady pressure of the corregidores 
was supplemented by the periodical visits of the 
pesquidores, veidores, or inspectors, whose duty it 
was from time to time to visit the various locali- 
ties, examining into the conduct of the corregi- 
dores and other officials, listening to complaints 
against them, reporting on the revenues, condi- 
tion of the roads, and other local conditions and 

Councils, corregidores, inspectors, and various 
other instruments of royal power fast sapped the 
strength of older institutions and gave authority 
and efficiency to the royal government; but they 
were expensive and the crown was poor. More- 
over, these institutions were only the permanent 
elements in a policy which had a thousand tempo- 
rary occasions of expense. Not even Ferdinand 
and Isabella could carry out so vigorous a r6gime 
unless provided with larger revenues. They de- 
termined, therefore, to emancipate the crown from 
its poverty. A few years after their accession they 
felt themselves strong enough, supported by the 
representatives of the towns, in the Cortes of Toledo, 
to convoke the great nobles and churchmen of the 
kingdom and demand from them an investigation 
* Mariejol, UEspagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle, 172-174. 


into the conditions under which the ancient domains 
of the crown had been aHenated/ The Cardinal 
Pedro de Mendoza and the queen's confessor, 
Ferdinand de Talavera, were appointed to judge 
of the propriety of the gifts of former sovereigns. 
They did their work so adequately that pension 
after pension, estate after estate, endowment after 
endowment, were resumed by the crown. These 
resumptions were principally to the loss of the great 
noble families which had enriched themselves at 
the expense of the crown. None, it is true, were 
impoverished thereby, but a more normal relation 
of comparative income between sovereign and sub- 
ject was established in the process.^ 

Another and more permanent addition to the 
royal income was made by the absorption into the 
crown of the grand masterships of the three military 
orders which existed in Castile, the Knights of Santi- 
ago, of Calatrava, and of Alcantara. In the course 
of three centuries of conquest from the Moslems 
these orders had added estate to estate, territory to 
territory, town to town, benefice to benefice, till 
their possessions extended widely through Spain, 
their income perhaps equalled that of the king, 
and their rule as landlords extended over almost a 
million people, or one-third the population of Castile.^ 

' Pulgar, Cronica de los Reyes, II., chap, xcv.; Calmeiro, In- 
troduction to Cortes de los Antigiios Reinos, II., 63, 64. 

2 Maricjol, VEspagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle, vi., 24. 

3 Vicente de la Fuenle, Hist. Generate de Espafia, V., 79. 


At the head of each of these orders was a grand 
master, whose rich income, miHtary following, and 
prestige made him one of the greatest nobles in 
Europe. There was reason in the claim that these 
grand masterships were antagonistic to royalty. 
Those who held them were the most turbulent nobles 
of Spain, and in earlier times had been the leaders 
in many a revolt against the crown. Their military 
system was co-ordinate with, and sometimes in con- 
flict with, that of the king ; their estates surround- 
ed royal fortresses and sometimes excluded royal 
forces from frontier districts. 

In 1487 when the grand mastership of the order 
of Calatrava became vacant, Ferdinand presented 
himself in the chapter of the commanders of the 
order, exhibited a papal bull giving him the admin- 
istration of the order, and forced the assembly to 
elect him grand master. In 1494, with less formal- 
ity, the grand master of Alcantara was induced to 
resign to the king his office, receiving, in recom- 
pense, the dignity of archbishop of Seville. Two 
years later, when the grand master of the order of 
Santiago died, Ferdinand had himself elected with- 
out difficulty.^ Some time after this Isabella is- 
sued a pragmatic decree, declaring that the grand 
masterships of the orders should always be annexed 
to the crown. These dignities were of great value; 
not only did they bring in a princely income, but 
they practically extended the estates and patronage 

* Maurenbrecher, Studien und Skizzen, 54. 


of the crown by all the broad lands, cities, and vil- 
lages, the offices, honors, and benefices with which 
the piety and chivalry of three centuries had en- 
dowed the orders. 

When once such foundations had been laid, the 
crown extended rapidly its aggressions upon the old 
powers, privileges, and customs of classes and local 
bodies. To the nobility were interdicted the pos- 
session of fortified castles, the practice of private 
warfare, the use of artillery, the duel,^ the use of 
quasi-royal formulas in their documents,^ and other 
proud old feudal customs. No slight influence was 
exercised upon the nobility by the increasing cere- 
mony, size, and expenditure of the court, to which 
they came to be attached in positions of nominal 
service and honorable dependence, a position alto- 
gether favorable to the supremacy of the monarchs 
and unfavorable to the independence of the no- 

Side by side with the consolidation of royal power 
went the creation of the territorial tinity of the 
Spanish peninsula. The greatest step was the con- 
quest of Granada. Rich, warlike, and proud, this 
ancient Moorish state resisted the persistent attacks 
of the Catholic sovereigns for eleven years, from 
1 48 1 to 1492.^ At least once Ferdinand wearied 
of the struggle and the expense, and longed to turn 

* Mariejol, L'Espagne sous Ferdinand et Isabella, 35. 
^ Cortes de los Antiguos Reinos, IV,, 191, 192. 
' Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, chap. ix. 


the efforts of the united Castilian and Aragonese 
arms eastward, where the natural ambitions of his 
own kingdom drew him towards France, Italy, and 
the islands of the Mediterranean/ Isabella's de- 
termination, however, never wavered, and in 1492 
Granada opened her gates to her conquerors, the 
Moorish dynasty disappeared from Spain, and their 
mountains and plains were added to the kingdom of 

In the very next year Ferdinand reunited to his 
dominions, by amicable treaty with the king of 
France, the two northern provinces of Catalonia, 
Cerdagne and Roussillon — which had been detached 
for thirty years. There remained Portugal and 
Navarre. The first of these independent kingdoms 
had already attained a degree of national inde- 
pendence, power, and wealth which prevented its 
absorption, though it was in the days of Spain's 
greatest power to be dragged for eighty years in her 
train. Navarre, balanced on the Pyrenees, had long 
been drawn alternately to France and to Aragon. 
In the closing years of the fifteenth and the opening 
years of the sixteenth century, neutrality became im- 
possible ; and in 1 5 1 2 a powerful Spanish army under 
the duke of Alva marched into Navarre ; its castles 
and towns capitulated, the latter under a promise 
of the maintenance of their privileges ; the king re- 
treated to the trans - Pyrenean part of his kingdom, 
and Ferdinand added to his other titles that of king 
* Mariejol, UEspagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle, 63. 


of Navarre/ By the time of the death of Ferdi- 
nand, the unity of the peninsula, except for Portu- 
gal, was complete. The immediate successors of 
the Catholic sovereigns wore the crowns of all the 
countries that ever have made part of Spain. 

Just as Spain became territorially one, she was 
made homogeneous in race and religion so as ulti- 
mately to become a land of one race and one faith. 
The Jew and the Moor were both destined to dis- 
appear ; every element alien in blood and every ele- 
ment unorthodox in religion to be driven out 
of the land. This complete purity of blood and 
unity of belief were only attained long afterwards, 
in a period when Spain had little else than her or- 
thodoxy to pride herself upon, but they were well 
begun in the time of the Catholic sovereigns. 

The Jews were the first to meet with serious 
persecution. They were very numerous: in one 
town, Ciudad Real, an assessment at one time 
showed 8828 heads of families, or other adult males 
of the Jewish race.^ They were famous as phy- 
sicians and merchants, and, as in other lands, 
were often money-lenders. From time to time 
waves of religious antagonism swept over the coun- 
try, and under the terrible presstrre of slaughter 
and imminent danger, great numbers of Jews 
were baptized and became converses, or "New 
Christians." These converts, freed from the dis 

^ Boissonade, Reunion de la Navarre a la CasUlle. 
2 Lea, The Moriscos of Spain, t,8^. 


abilities of their religion and gifted with superior 
natural abilities, rapidly attained to high positions 
in church and state. Intermarriages between the 
New Christians and those of Castilian blood were fre- 
quent, and many families of great eminence had 
Jewish blood in their veins. 

The conversos were under constant suspicion of 
being Christians only formally ; it was believed that 
in their hearts they retained their ancient faith 
and secretly performed its rites ; they were credited 
with antagonism to Christianity and suspected of 
practising sorcery to destroy the "Old Christians." 
There was some basis for the first, at least, of these 
suspicions. Many doubtless failed to abandon com- 
pletely their ancestral ceremonies; and not only 
they but even some Old Christians felt the attraction 
of their mysterious and ancient traditions.^ The 
practice of Jewish rites, known as "Judaizing," 
under the wide relationships and high connections 
of the conversos, long went on tm checked. In 1475 
the pope conferred on his legate in Castile full in- 
quisitorial powers to prosecute and punish "Ju- 
daizing" Christians; but the mandate was not car- 
ried out.^ 

In 1480, however, the Catholic sovereigns re- 
quested from the pope authorization for the ap- 
pointment by themselves of inquisitors to root out 
this heresy. A bull for the purpose was granted 

^ Marie jol. L'Espagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle, 44. 
^ Lea, in Am. Hist. Rev., October, 1895, p. 48. 


them, and on September 27, 1480, the Spanish In- 
quisition was estabHshed at Seville. In January, 
1 48 1, it began its work, and branches were gradually 
established in other centres till it had extended its 
tribunals to cover all Castile. Its work proved 
heavy ; in its first eight years the tribunal of Seville 
alone put to death seven hundred persons and con- 
demned five thousand more to severe penalties.^ 
One of the great coimcils of the realm was formed to 
direct its operations, at the head of which was the 
inquisitor-general. The third in the line of inquis- 
itors-general extended the Inquisition to America. 

The authority of the Inquisition extended only 
over baptized persons; and, therefore, Jews who had 
never given up their religion, although under many 
disabilities, were not subject to its jurisdiction; but 
immunity to unconverted Jews could not consist- 
ently be continued during a harsh persecution of Ju- 
daizing Christians, and from the commencement of 
the work of the Inquisition pressure was brought to 
bear by clergy and populace upon the sovereigns 
to force all Jews either to be baptized or to emi- 
grate.^ The policy of enforced conversion or ex- 
pulsion was steadily advocated by the inquisitors; 
since, if the Jews were baptized they would come 
under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition ; if they left 
the country, Spain would be free from the reproach 
of harboring heretics. 

* Bernaldez, Hist, de los Reyes, chap, xliv., quoted by Mari^jol, 
UEspagne, 46, ^ Lea, Religious History of Spain, 437. 


Isabella seems to have hesitated to carry out this 
policy, as well she might. But the tide of popular 
hatred rose higher and higher, driven on by the 
famous case of El Santo Nino de la Gttardia, the 
reputed murder of a Christian child by Jews to 
obtain its heart for purposes of sorcery/ Finally, 
by the edict of March 31, 1492, all Jews were ex- 
pelled from Spain, as they had been from England 
as early as 1290, and successively from many other 
states of Europe at intervening periods.^ The same 
year that saw the discovery of America and the 
capture of Granada saw the expulsion of some one 
hundred thousand Jews and the enforced baptism 
of the fifty thousand that remained.^ One great 
and costly step had been made in the direction of 
imity of race and religion in Spain. 

The Moors in Spain were still more numerous than 
the Jews, though more concentrated. Through 
the later mediaeval centuries, in the process of recon- 
quest, Moorish populations which made formal sur- 
render were preserved as subjects of the Christian 
kings; while those that were taken prisoners in 
battle were retained as slaves. Both classes, pro- 
tected by the laws in their rehgion and their prop- 
erty,^ frequently still practised their Mohammedan 

^ Lea, Religious History of Spain, 437-468. 

2 Amador de los Rios, Los Judios de Espana y Portugal, III . , 603 . 

^ Isidore Loeb, in Revue des Etudes Juives, 1887, p. 182, 
quoted in Lea, The Moriscos of Spain, 16. 

* Las Siete Partidas, pt. i., tit, v., ley 22,, etc., quoted in Lea, 
The Moriscos of Spain, 2. 


faith. Practically the whole rural population of 
the kingdom of Valencia was Moorish, and in the 
cities of the southern provinces of Castile they made 
a considerable part of the population. In the cen- 
tury and a half of peace just preceding the war with 
Granada they increased steadily in numbers and in 
economic value to Spain. 

The conquest of Granada, in 1492, brought the 
population of that country under the rule of Ferdi- 
nand and Isabella. The old body of Moorish sub- 
jects of Aragon and Castile, now reinforced by all 
the teeming population of the south, made an ele- 
ment of the population of united Spain of infinite 
promise. They were skilful, industrious, temper- 
ate, and moral; their agriculture and manufactures 
were far more advanced than those of the Christians ; 
and they were more laborious, thrifty, and peaceable. 
They might be relied upon to furnish through tax- 
ation a steady and abundant income to the crown, 
and through their labor to make the landed estates 
of the nobles profitable. 

Though treaty guarantees, and the permanent 
material interests of the new sovereigns alike fa- 
vored the protection and pacification of the Moorish 
inhabitants of Granada, other motives antagonized 
this policy. Religious enthusiasm and racial an- 
tipathy, as well as immediate greed, urged a dis- 
regard of the terms of capitulation, or, at least, such 
an interpretation of them as would drive the Moors 
either to conversion or exile. The latitudinarian- 


ism of earlier centuries had disappeared. The whole 
spirit of the time was now averse to tolerance or 
anything approaching local, national, or religious 
independence. At first, under Talavera, a sincere, 
earnest, and partially successful effort was made to 
convert the Moors individually to Christianity; but 
soon a demand arose and became ever more urgent 
that the Moors, like the Jews, should be given the 
simple and immediate alternative of baptism or 
exile. In 1500 this policy was adopted in Granada; 
in 1502, by royal edict signed by Isabella, it was ap- 
plied to all the dominions of the Castilian crown; 
and in 1525 it was promulgated in Aragon, Valencia, 
and Catalonia. As a result many of the Moors em- 
igrated to Africa ; the rest became Moriscos — that 
is to say, Christians in religion, although Moors in 
blood. Thus religious uniformity was attained in 
Spain. In theory, at least, every inhabitant of the 
united kingdom was a Catholic Christian. But the 
enforced Christianity required of the Moriscos pro- 
duced only an outward and imperfect conformity, 
and the problem of this alien element remained long 
unsolved to plague the Spanish monarchs, and to 
bring untold misery on the Moriscos themselves.^ 

Thus the fragmentary and embryonic group of 
Iberian nations of the fifteenth century grew into 
the powerful Spanish monarchy of the sixteenth. 
A single centralized government was created, and 
the divided currents of national life were gathered by 

^ Lea, The Moriscos of Spain, chaps, v.-xi. 


it into one great stream. Notwithstanding many 
survivals of mediaeval conditions and later reversions 
to the earlier type, internal warfare and domestic 
disorder disappeared from the peninsula, and diver- 
gence of foreign policy no longer weakened its in- 
fluence in Europe. The absolute monarchy was 
fovmded, and whatever there was of ability, enter- 
prise, and wealth in Spain came imder its control. 
The sovereign was in a position to give patronage to 
voyages of adventure, to legislate for distant do- 
minions, and to make the most remote Spanish 
possessions contributory to the general objects of 
Spanish policy. 

Spain stood out as one of the greatest states in 
Europe. With her close approximation to a imited 
nationality, her all-powerful monarchy, her highly 
elaborate bureaucracy, her increasing body of law, 
soon to be codified into a great whole, her nascent 
literature, her military gifts and resources, the wealth 
and romance of the Indies, she stood on the threshold 
of the sixteenth century with imposing power and 
dignity. The part she played during that century 
was a conspicuous one. Her generals and her troops 
became the most famous and the most successful in 
Europe. Her diplomatic representatives were able 
to take the highest tone and to win most successes 
among European states, in the international intrigues 
of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. 
She was rich enough to pension or bribe the ministers 
and courtiers of half the courts of Europe, and even 


to dazzle the eyes and impose upon the judgment of 
such a sovereign as James I. of England. Her litera- 
ture and her art flourished with her political great- 
ness, and she had all the external appearance of a 
great, cultured, and flourishing nation. 

We know now, as was recognized by some observers 
even then, that Spain was a hollow shell. After the 
reign of Charles V. population stood stationary, or 
declired, and wealth decreased. Philip II. enforced 
orthodoxy, excluded all non-Catholic literature, and 
summoned home all Spanish students in foreign 
imiversities, thus dooming Spain to intellectual 
stagnation. She exhausted her resources in unwise 
or hopeless foreign struggles, like the war of con- 
quest of Italy and the effort to reconquer the Neth- 
erlands; she wasted her peculiar opportunities by 
driving from her borders the enterprising Jews and 
industrious Moriscos, and by allowing commerce 
and flnance to fall into the hands of foreigners. 
But most of these errors were, at the death of Ferdi- 
nand, in 1 5 16, still in the future; and the Spanish 
monarchy and nation had much of the reahty as 
well as the appearance of greatness. 



AMERICA'S political and social institutions are 
unquestionably founded upon those of England, 
and these will be described in their proper place in 
this volume. But the institutions of three other Eu- 
ropean nations were for considerable periods domi- 
nant in certain parts of the New World, and have left 
an impress that is even yet far from being effaced. 
They are those of Spain, France, and Holland. 

Since the Indies were, in theory, an outlying part 
of the kingdom of Castile, they naturally reflected 
the recently achieved absolutism of the Spanish mon- 
archy. This absolutism in Castile extended over all 
fields — legislation, judicial action, and administra- 
tive control. Although the most formal and per- 
manent statutes were drawn up by the king with 
the consent of the cortes, or even at its request, yet 
the custom of issuing pragmatica, or ordinances 
enacted by royal authority, grew until their provi- 
sions filled a large sphere. They were promulgated 
on all sorts of subjects, and became, immediately 
on their issue, authoritative rules of action. The 



whole subsequent legislation for the American colo- 
nies, springing as it did from the mere will of the 
sovereign, was an outcome of this custom. 

The king was the fountain of justice, in whose 
name or by whose grant all temporal jurisdiction 
was exercised. In no country of Europe was this 
principle more clearly acknowledged than in Spain. 
Immediately attending upon him was an audiencia, 
or group of judicial officers whose duty it was to 
carry out these ftmctions in the most immediate 
cases. The audiencia was a high court of law and 
equity, deciding both civil and criminal cases; and, 
as is always the case in early stages of government, 
exercising much administrative and financial con- 
trol through the forms of judicial action. The in- 
sufficiency for these ends of a peripatetic body bound 
to follow the king in all his movements was early 
recognized, and the royal audiencia was made sta- 
tionary at Valladolid. Later a second such court 
was established, first at Ciudad Real, then, after the 
conquest, at Granada. Ultimately others were or- 
ganized in Galicia, Seville, Madrid, Burgos, and 
several additional centres. The system was early 
transported and extensively developed in the Amer- 
ican possessions, where twelve independent audien- 
cias existed. There, as at home, this court system 
gradually superseded the more individual and mil- 
itary rule of the adelantado, which had been charac- 
teristic of the early conquest period.^ 

* Moses, Spanish Rule in America, 66, etc. 


The adelantado was the representative of the ad- 
ministrative powers of the crown. Five such offi- 
cials in the fifteenth century governed respectively 
the provinces of Castile, Leon, Galicia, Andalusia, 
and Murcia; another was appointed over Granada 
when it was conquered; and still another admin- 
istered the temporal affairs of the vast estates of the 
archbishopric of Toledo. Their duties were partly 
military, partly civil, and under them were subordi- 
nate royal officers with a great variety of titles such 
as sarjento mayor, alferez real, alcalde. The title of 
adelantado was naturally given to Columbus, Pizarro, 
and several of the other early conquistadores as the 
nearest equivalent to their position as civil and 
military governors of the wide-spreading, newly con- 
quered lands of America.^ 

The supremacy of the crown extended to the 
church as well as to the state. Spain, in the Middle 
Ages and far into modem times, presented the 
anomaly of a nation and government most ardently 
devoted to orthodox Christianity and to the church, 
and yet jealous and impatient of the powers of the 
Pope. In 1482 Isabella protested against the use of 
a papal provision for the appointment of a foreign 
cardinal to a Castilian bishopric, and claimed a 
right to be consulted in all ecclesiastical appoint- 
ments. A serious contest ensued, the ultimate 
result of which was that the queen obtained a 
clear right of appointment, which, in the reign of 

^ Moses, Spanish Rule in America, 68, 69, 112. 


Charles V., was formally recognized as such by the 

This position of the monarchs at home made easy 
and natural the adoption of their position of supreme 
patrons of the church in Spanish America. In the 
colonies conquered, settled, and Christianized under 
their influence they had a completeness of control, 
not only over appointments, but over the establish- 
ment of new church centres and the disposition of 
the titles to ecclesiastical property generally, which 
was quite unknown anywhere in Europe. 

The supremacy of the crown in Spain is evidenced 
in no way more markedly than by its entire freedom 
from dependence on the military and landed classes 
of the country. Yet the nobility were numerous, 
rich, and distinguished. In the sixteenth century 
there were twelve dukes, thirteen marquises, and 
thirty-six counts in Castile, some of whom had 
princely estates and power. The heads of such 
families as that of Mendoza or Guzman or Lara or 
Haro or Medina Celi were among the greatest men 
in Europe. Yet the highest of these nobles was still 
at an immeasurable distance below the king. The 
resumption of royal estates, the seizure of the grand 
masterships, the enforcement and extension of all 
the latent powers of the monarchy had freed the 
Spanish kings from all danger of control by the 
great nobility. 

^Vicente dela Fuente, Hist. Generate de Espana, V., 150, 
quoted in Mariejol, L'Espagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle, 28. 


The chief characteristic of the Castilian nobiHty, 
however, was not its wealth, but its numbers. Next 
in rank to the great nobles, or ricos hombres, were the 
caballeros, the knights, and below them was a vast 
number of hidalgos, mere gentlemen. In Castile all 
were accounted gentlemen who were sons of gentle- 
men, legitimate or illegitimate; all those who took 
up their residence in a city newly conquered from 
the ]\Ioors, providing themselves with horse and 
arms without engaging in trade; those who lived 
without trade in certain provinces and cities which 
had that privilege. Whether rich or poor, those 
who belonged to the noble class had many privi- 
leges : they paid none of the general taxes ; they were 
free from imprisonment for debt ; they had the pref- 
erence in appointments to office in state and church ; 
they had precedence on all public occasions; and, 
except in case of treason or heresy, they had the 
privilege in case of execution of being decapitated 
instead of hanged.^ 

These hidalgos and caballeros, many of them poor, 
living on inadequate estates, in service to other no- 
bles or in irregular ways in the towns, furnished 
promising material for volunteer forces in war, for 
distant conquest, and for an expanding government 
service; but they were weak elements of economic 
progress. The conquistadores of Spanish America, 
the soldiers in Italy and the Netherlands, and the 
drones of Spain were all to be found among the 

^ Alaricjol, L'Espagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle, 278-284. 


teeming lower Spanish nobility and gentry. They 
made admirable soldiers. With all their pride and 
all their indolence, Spanish gentlemen were not too 
proud to fight, even in the ranks and afoot; or too 
lazy to endure effort and privation when they were 
for a military end. The Spaniards as a race were 
then, as now, abstemious, and could make long 
marches on a slender commissariat, i^rlany of them 
wxre used to the extremes of heat and cold of the 
mountainous regions of their native country, and 
were fitted for the most trying of long campaigns. 
All the material was ready to the hand of the king 
for use in his European campaigns, or to be let loose 
for adventure in America. With this acknowl- 
edged position of legislative, judicial, administra- 
tive, and ecclesiastical supremacy at home ; with the 
headship of a numerous, loyal, and warlike nobility; 
with the possession of a numerous trained official 
class, it was easy for the Spanish monarchs to im- 
pose a centralized and homogeneous system of 
despotic government upon the distant and wide- 
spread colonies of America. 

The assertion of the absolute authority of the 
king over the Indies was never neglected or allowed 
to lapse. The adventurers who discovered and ex- 
plored the West Indies, Central and South America, 
Mexico, and much of what is now territory of the 
United States; the captains who conquered these 
lands ; the governors who organized and ruled them ; 
the colonists who occupied them — all drew their per- 


mission so to act from the king, or if they went be- 
yond their commissions quickly legitimated their ac- 
tions by an appeal to him for an act of indemnity 
and a more adequate commission. Foreigners were 
by the edict of the king excluded from the Spanish 
possessions, or permitted a narrow field of action 
there ; the policy of the colonies in matters of trade, 
relations with the natives, religion, and finance was 
dictated by the king. Upon the advice of his Coun- 
cil of the Indies he issued a continuous series of 
rules and ordinances, and finally drew up for the 
American possessions the "New Laws." 

Yet supreme over her colonies as was the absolute 
monarchy of Spain, a false idea of their condition 
would be obtained if it were forgotten that the 
monarchy was only one of the national institutions. 
Other political habits of the people were firmly es- 
tablished as well as that of subserviency to the 
crown. Spain was the classic land of participation 
of all classes in government through the cortes ; al- 
most as old as the monarchy were the fueros, or fran- 
chises and charters ; protected by these fueros, the 
cities and towns had become numerous, powerful, 
and almost self-governing ; and even rural communi- 
ties had in many cases a complicated and semi- 
independent system of control of their own affairs. 

The cortes may be neglected here, since no such 
representative body ever arose in the colonies ; but 
the same is not true of local self-governing munici- 
palities. Not only were they characteristic of 



Spain, but analogous institutions were established 
as a Spanish population grew up and was organized 
in the Indies, where there was a strong tendency 
to revert to practical self-government and thus to 
defeat the centralizing policy of the monarchy. 

Several hundred cities, towns, and rural com- 
munities in Spain held fueros granted to them by 
the king, a great noble, or some ecclesiastical body. 
These charters in many cases dated from the 
eleventh or twelfth century and conceded the most 
extensive rights and privileges. Under them towns- 
men could surround themselves with a wall, organ- 
ize a military force, elect their own magistrates, 
judge their own inhabitants, collect their own taxes, 
pay only a fixed sum to the crown, and in other 
ways live almost as a separate political body under 
the general protection only of the king.^ 

Notwithstanding many differences among the 
towns in size, character, and political privileges, 
among those of Castile there was a certain similar- 
ity of organization which may be described as fol- 
lows, and may be looked upon as the type on which 
all municipalities in Spanish America were origi- 
nally constructed.^ 

The citizens who possessed full political rights 
were known in the most general sense as vecinos; 
when acting as electors they were spoken of as form- 
ing the concejo, cabildo, or council. The actual 

^ Antequera, Hist, de la Legislacion Espanola, 128-139. 
^ Bourne, Spain in America, chap. xv. 


body which met and directed municipal affairs was 
the ayiintamiento, made up of the more important 
magistrates and officials, of whom there was usually 
a considerable number and variety. The alcaldes 
exercised judicial functions, both civil and criminal ; 
the regidores had charge of the administrative work 
of the community; the corregidores of its oversight 
in the interest of the king ; the alguazil mayor com- 
manded the military forces; the mayor domo had 
the oversight of the town property. In some 
towns one or more of the alcaldes had the title of 
alcalde mayor, and held a presiding function. There 
were various lower officials, such as alar if es, rayones, 
and others in great variety,^ The town officials 
were in some cases appointed by the king, in others 
elected by the vecinos, in still others divided between 
royal and local appointment. They were usually 
drawn from the body of the citizens, but in some cases 
from gentlemen or even noblemen who had houses 
in the town or simply owned property there. 

This municipal organization and certain other an- 
cient institutions tended to reappear in the colonies, 
and thus to modify and limit that absolutism of the 
central government which was without doubt the 
leading characteristic of the Spanish colonial sys- 
tem. The provincial interests of the colonists also 
opposed the monarchy. The great distance of the 
colonies from Spain, the rigidity of official custom, 
the difference between the interests of the colonists 

* Antequera, Hist, de la Legislacion Espailola, App. ix., 542. 


and the desires of the government, and the lack of 
vigor at home combined to prevent a really effec- 
tive control of the colonies. " Obedezcase, pero no se 
cumpla " (Let it be obeyed, but not enforced) was 
a saying sufficiently descriptive of the attitude of 
the colonies towards unpopular decrees from home. 

The servitude of men of dependent races, which 
became such a fundamental characteristic of Span- 
ish America, is an instance of this incompleteness 
of control by the central government. Slavery was 
a product of American conditions and was not gen- 
eral in the mother - country. A small number of 
Moorish slaves captured in war and of negroes im- 
ported through Portugal were scattered through 
Spain, but they did not form a class, and were pro- 
tected rather than depressed by the law.^ 

Slavery in America was always distasteful to the 
home government, and only reluctantly permitted 
because of the apparent necessities of the case and in 
the hope of ameliorating the lot of the Indians. The 
whole plan of the asiento was based on the princi- 
ple of regulating and limiting slavery. The shame- 
ful extermination of the native races of the West 
Indies is a long, sad history of kindly intentions and 
wise regulations on the part of the home govern- 
ment, made nugatory by the determined self-inter- 
est and heartless cruelty of the colonists.^ The 

^ Lea, The Moriscos of Spain, 2. 

2 Lea, " The Indian Policy of Spain " (in Yale Review, August, 
1899); Bourne, Spain in America, chap, xviii. 


'fervor of Las Casas could readily obtain from the 
Spanish monarchs proclamations declaring the free- 
dom of the Indians and even definite statutes pro- 
viding for their good treatment ; but neither his fer- 
vor nor the monarch's power could secure the en- 
forcement of the laws or save the miserable natives.^ 

In theory the Spanish sovereigns ruled the Indies 
with an autocratic sway. In practice the colonies 
were governed by a bureaucracy or, more commonly, 
allowed to drift. Yet by the forms of Spanish rule 
they were deprived of all wholesome local freedom, 
of all power of independent action, and of all delib- 
erate choice of their own policy. They did not, 
therefore, develop during their colonial period a 
robust provincial life and character; and only late 
and with great difficulty did they struggle into in- 
dependence and obtain self-government.^ 

The institutions of France which were transferred 
to the New World or which exercised a direct in- 
fluence on its poHtical development belong to a 
period a century or a century and a half later than 
those of Spain which have just been described. 
Yet during that period there had been no essential 
alteration in the general direction of political de- 
velopment in France, and the system which Canada 
reflected in the seventeenth century was a more 
elaborate rather than a different system from that of 

» Lea, "The Indian Policy of Spain" (Yale Review, August, 
1899), 132, 135, 138, 141, 143. etc. 

2 Paxson, The Independence of the South-American Republics, 
chap. i. 


the sixteenth. This development had, indeed, been 
in progress since the Hundred Years' War, and con- 
sisted in the steady rise of the power of the central- 
ized monarchy. In Spain we have seen a sudden 
growth of absolutism and centralization within one 
reign. In France the foundation of the absolute 
monarchy was laid earlier, it was constructed more 
uniformly, and the resulting edifice was more firm 
and symmetrical. 

The extension of the royal household, the sub- 
division of the royal councils, the creation of the 
parlements,^ the appointment of governors of prov- 
inces, baihffs, and intendants, and the establish- 
ment of a complicated hierarchy of financial and ju- 
dicial officers and official bodies,^ were processes 
which arose from the fundamental conditions of 
France and from the genius of her government. In 
this development there were periods of rapid growth, 
as that of Francis I. ; of temporary reaction, as that 
of the religious wars. Of the periods of the former 
class none was more important and definitive than 
that which was in progress during the years in which 
Canada was struggling into existence — that is to 
say, the reigns of Henry IV. and Louis XIII., from 
1589 to 1643. By the latter date, that of the ac- 
cession of Louis XIV., the work was accomplished. 

France was, in theory and in practice, a despot- 
ism. It was so in theory, for Louis himself could 

^ Lavisse, Histoire de France, V., pt. i., 215. 
-"Ihid., v., 247. 

VOL. I — 10 


declare, ''All power, all authority, are in the hand of 
the king, and there can be none other in the king- 
dom than those which be established there." The 
epigram attributed to that monarch, '' L'etat, c'est 
moi," was not an exaggerated description of the 
royal functions, according to the views of the king 
and of his most thoughtful ministers. ''The ruler 
ought not to render accounts to any one of what he 
ordains. . . . No one can say to him, 'Why do 
you do thus?' " said Bossuet. In his copy-book as 
a child Louis XIV. was taught to write, "To kings 
homage is due; they do what they please." In 
practice the absolute power was no less a reality, 
since by royal decree the king not only made war 
and peace, determined upon foreign and internal 
policy, established religion, and codified law, but also 
disposed of the property of his subjects through 
arbitrary taxation. A systematic scheme of gov- 
ernment, in which all lines should converge upward 
to the sovereign, could be drawn more justly for 
France in the seventeenth century than for any 
political structure since the Notitia Dignitatum was 
drawn up for the later Roman Empire. 

The royal government was as simple territorial-' 
ly as it was in functions. It extended over all the 
territory of France and of the French possessions 
beyond the seas. Instead of a collection of prov- 
inces, of some of which the king was direct ruler, 
of others only feudal lord, as had been his position 
in the fourteenth century, he was now king equally 


over every one of his subjects in every part of his 
dominions. The administration of this territory 
had been transferred from its feudal lords to the 
king by the appointment in the fifteenth century 
of governors of the provinces, whose position was 
almost that of viceroys. 

An even more effective instrument of royal con- 
trol was afterwards created in the form of the in- 
tendants. Dating in their beginning from the mid- 
dle of the sixteenth century, reintroduced by Henry 
IV. in his reconstruction of France after the reHgious 
wars,^ these officials were settled upon by Richelieu 
in the period between 1624 and 1641 as the prin- 
cipal agents and representatives of royal power. 
Eventually each province had its intendant along- 
side of the governor, and these thirty-four officials 
exercised the real government over France. They 
were drawn not from the great nobility, as were the 
governors, but from the petty nobility or purely 
official class; they had no local connections or in- 
terests apart from the crown which they served; 
they could be removed at will; they exercised 
powers only by consent and direction of the crown ; 
they were, therefore, absolutely dependent. On the 
other hand, they were habitually invested with 
powers of almost unbounded extent. They could 
withdraw cases from the ordinary judges and hear 
and decide them themselves; they recruited and 
organized the army; they had oversight of the 

* B-ambaud, Hist, de la Civilisation Frangaise, I,, 537. 


churches, the schools, roads, canals, agriculture, 
trade, and industries ; they must see that peace was 
kept; and they must watch over and report on the 
actions of all other royal officials in the province, 
including the governor. It was the intendant who 
made the despotic government of the king a reality. 
John Law declared, in a letter to D'Argenson, that 
"this kingdom of France is governed by thirty 

This despotism undoubtedly made France great, 
but it cost a terrible price. Like all supreme powers, 
it was jealous, and suffered no other public institu- 
tions to exist alongside of it. In competition with 
its power all older bodies became weak. The 
Estates General did not meet again after 16 14; the 
parlements humbled themselves ; provincial, munic- 
ipal, and communal governments dropped into 
obscurity; the individual man, unless he was a 
functionary, lost all habit of political initiative, in- 
dependence, or criticism. The mighty machine of 
the government was too vast, too complicated, and 
too distant for the common man to do aught but 
submit himself to it and lose much of his individual 
force thereby. 

Enforced orthodoxy in religion was a natural out- 
come of the unity and symmetry of government; 
hence, notwithstanding the large number of Hugue- 
nots, the economic value of the Protestant element 
in the population, and the tolerance which might 
be expected from so enlightened a government, the 


Edict of Nantes was repealed in 1685, and, theo- 
retically at least, all the population of France and 
of the French possessions were after this time ortho- 
dox Catholic Christians, thus again obtaining uni- 
formity, but at the price of almost irreparable loss 
of population and of activity of mind. 

Yet alongside this supreme despotic government 
had been preserved certain relics of feudalism. 
The sovereigns and great ministers who had hum- 
bled the aristocracy did not wish to humiliate it. 
While depriving the nobles of all political power 
they had carefully preserved to them their social 
privileges. This was done partly by giving them a 
favored position in the administration of the great 
machine of centralized royal government, partly by 
allowing the continuance of old feudal privileges. 
To the nobles were reserved all the higher positions 
in the army, navy, civil service, administration of 
the provinces, and in the church;^ and the govern- 
ment of French possessions beyond the seas was in 
almost all cases given to noblemen. 

Of the feudal privileges of the nobility a number 
were profitable in money or gratifying to pride. 
Every landed noble had some degree of jurisdiction, 
frequently that of "high, mean, and petty justice " 
— that is to say, the right of trying and settling a 
large variety of judicial matters among his tenants ; 
his right of punishment extending in some cases 
even to the infliction of the death penalty. He had 

* Rambaud, Hist, de la Civilisation Frangaise, II., 75-78. 


the right to receive certain payments upon every 
sale or lease of the lands of any inhabitant of his 
fief ; he received fees upon sales of cattle, grain, wine, 
meat, and other articles within the limits of his lands ; 
he alone had the privilege of hunting and fishing 
or of collecting a fee for granting the privilege to 
others; and he alone could keep a dove-cote or a 
rabbit-warren; he had the banalites — i.e., the right 
of requiring all tenants on his estates to grind their 
grain at his mill and to bake at his oven; he had 
corvees — the right to a certain amount of unpaid 
labor from his tenants; his land was exempt from 
the taille, the most burdensome of taxes ; and he had 
many other and diverse seigneurial rights, often, 
indeed, more vexatious to the tenant than they were 
profitable to the seigneur/ These rights of land- 
holders were survivals from an earlier period; but 
they were survivals which still had great value and 
considerable vitality. Although permitted to exist 
by the absolute monarchy, they were in reality an- 
tagonistic to it in spirit, and might at any time, and 
actually did, become a serious disadvantage to it. 
Among the more primitive surroundings of Canada 
these privileges of a landed aristocracy obtained 
new life and vigor, and feudalism played a con- 
spicuous if not a leading part in the troubled his- 
tory of that colony.^ 

Of the political institutions of Holland not so 

^ Rambaud, Hist, de la Civilisation Frangaise, 11., 84-90. 
^ Parkman, The Old Regime in Canada, chaps, xii.-xv. 


much need be said, for New Netherland was a 
commercial not a political creation, the factory of 
a trading company, not a self - governing colony. 
Yet, under the general control of the West India 
Company, municipal institutions were established 
at Manhattan, and in the form of the patroonships 
feudal powers were granted to large landholders 
along the Hudson and Long Island Sound ; and in 
both these cases the models were drawn in large 
part from the home land. 

The United Netherlands was a confederation of 
seven provinces, Holland being far the most influ- 
ential. But Holland itself, as was true of the others, 
was in many respects a confederation of municipal- 
ities. The peculiar history of the country had been 
such that from a comparatively early period the 
towns and cities had obtained charters from their 
overlord, the count of Holland, or from lesser noble- 
men, granting them the most extensive rights and 
privileges. These rights had continued to be ex- 
tended till the power of the count within the towns 
was narrowly restricted. His representative was the 
schout, but that official exercised rather a prosecut- 
ing and executing than an independent power, bring- 
ing offenders before a town court, ^ and carrying out 
its judgments. 

The schepens who made up this court, with two 
or more burgomasters and a certain number of 
prominent citizens, organized as a council or vroed- 

^ Davies, History of Holland, I., 77. 


schap, carried on the affairs of the city, making its 
laws, exercising its jurisdiction, and administering 
its finances in almost entire independence of the 
central government/ The representatives of the 
larger towns, along with the deputies of the nobles, 
also made up the states of Holland, any one city 
having the right of veto in any proposed national 

Outside of the towns the open country was either 
domains of the count, or fiefs held from him by 
church corporations or nobles. On the latter many 
old feudal powers survived through the sixteenth 
century. The nobles exercised always low and 
sometimes high jurisdiction, they taxed their own 
tenants, they carried on private war with other 
nobles, and they enjoyed an exemption from the 
payment of taxes. The feudal conditions in these 
rural domains and the highly developed internal 
organization of the cities seem at first glance dia- 
metrically opposed; but, after all, their relation to 
the central government was much the same, the 
city being treated as a fief held by its council;^ and 
as a matter of fact it was these two institutions 
which were introduced into New Netherland.* 

^ Fruin, Geschiedniss der Staatsinstellingen in Nederland, 
68, 69. ^ Davies, History of Holland, I., 85. 

^ Jameson, in Magazine of Am. Hist., VIII., chap, i., 316. 
* O'Callaghan, Documentary History of New York, I., 385-394. 




THE priority of Portugal and Spain in distant 
adventure did not secure them from the com- 
petition of the other nations of Europe, whose 
awakening activity, ambition, and enterprise per- 
ceived clearly the advantages of the New World 
and of the new routes to the south and east. Al- 
most within the first decade of the sixteenth cen- 
tury an Englishman cries out: "The Indies are dis- 
covered and vast treasures brought from thence 
every day. Let us, therefore, bend our endeavors 
thitherwards, and if the Spaniards or Portuguese 
suffer us not to join with them, there will be yet 
region enough for all to enjoy." ^ Soon England, 
France, and the Netherlands were sending exploring 
and trading expeditions abroad, and somewhat later 
they all aimed at colonial empires comparable with 
that of Spain. These colonial settlements were 
chiefly made for commercial profit and depended 

^ Lord Herbert (1511) , quoted in Macpherson, Annals of Com- 
merce, IL, 39. 



closely on a new and peculiar type of commercial 
organization, the well-known chartered companies. 
It was these companies which established the greater 
number of American colonies, and the ideals, regula- 
tions, and administrative methods of corporate trad- 
ing were interwoven into their political fabric. 

Revolutions in commerce have been as frequent, 
as complete, and, in the long run, as influential as 
have been revolutions in political government. Eu- 
rope in the fifteenth century had a clearly marked 
and well-established method of international com- 
merce ; yet before the sixteenth century was over 
a fundamentally dift'erent system grew up, which 
was destined not only to characterize trade during 
the next two hundred years, but, as has been said, 
to exercise a deep influence on the settlement and 
government of colonies in general and on the policy 
of their home governments. 

A complete contrast exists between international 
trade in 1400 and 1600. The type of commerce 
characteristic of the earlier period was carried on 
by individual merchants; that belonging to the 
later period by joint-stock companies. Under the 
former, merchants depended on municipal support 
and encouragement; under the latter they acted 
under charters received from national governments. 
The individual merchants of the earlier period had 
only trading privileges ; the organized companies of 
the later time had political powers also. In the 
fifteenth century the merchants from any one city 


or group of cities occupied a building, a quarter, 
or fondaco, in each of the foreign cities with which 
they traded; in the seventeenth they more usually 
possessed independent colonies or fortified estab- 
lishments of their own on the coasts of foreign 
countries. In the earlier period trading operations 
were restricted to Europe; in the later they ex- 
tended over the whole world. 

The essential elements of the organization of 
trade at the period chosen for this description are 
its individual character, its restriction to well- 
marked European limits, and its foundation upon 
concessions obtained by town governments. 

At the beginning of the fifteenth century there 
were five principal groups of trading cities, whose 
merchants carried on probably nine- tenths of the 
commerce of Europe. These groups were situated: 
(i) in northern Italy; (2) in southern France and 
Catalonia; (3) in southern Germany; (4) in northern 
France and Flanders; (5) in northern Germany. 
Two of them were in the south of Europe, and found 
their most considerable function in transmitting 
goods between the Levant and Europe; the Hanse 
towns of northern Germany, at the other extremity 
of Europe, carried the productions of the Baltic 
lands to the centre and south; the Flemish and 
south German groups, intermediate between the 
two, exchanged among themselves and transmitted 
goods from one part of Europe to another. There 
were, of course, vast differences of organization 


among the trading towns. Venice and Cologne, 
Barcelona and Augsburg, Bruges and Liibeck were 
too far separated in distance, nationality, the nature 
of their trade, and the degree of their development 
to have the same institutions. And yet there were 
many similarities. 

The city authorities obtained for their citizens 
the privileges of buying and selling within certain 
districts and under certain restrictions, and very 
frequently of having their own warehouses, dwelling 
houses, and selling - places. Examples are to be 
found in the fondachi of Venice, Genoa, and other 
Italian, French, and Catalan cities, established in the 
Greek and Mohammedan districts of the eastern 
Mediterranean, on the basis of grants given by the 
rulers of those lands and cities. Just as character- 
istic examples can be found in western Europe; in 
London the '' Steelyard" was a group of warehouses, 
offices, dwellings, and court-yards owned jointly by 
the towns of the Hanseatic League, and occupied by 
merchants from those towns who came to England 
to trade under the concessions granted them by the 
English government.* The south Germans had 
their fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, and the north 
Germans their **St. Peter's Yard" in Novgorod. 
The Venetian merchants trading to the city of 
Bruges usually met for mercantile purposes in the 
house of a Flemish family named Van de Burse, a 

' Lappenberg, Geschichte des Hansischen Stahlhofes zu 


name which is said to have given the word '' bourse " 
to the languages of modem Europe.^ 

The union among the merchants of any one city 
or league was one for joint trading privileges only, 
not for corporate investment or syndicated busi- 
ness. Each merchant or firm traded separately and 
independently, simply using the warehouse and 
office facilities secured by the efforts of the home 
government, and enjoying the permission to trade, 
exemption from duties, and whatever other privi- 
leges might have been obtained for its merchants 
by the same power. The necessity for obtaining 
such concessions arose from the habit of looking at 
all international intercourse as to a certain degree 
abnormal, and of disliking and ill-treating foreigners. 
Hence the Germans in London, the Venetians in 
Alexandria, the Genoese in Constantinople, for in- 
stance, needed to have permission respectively from 
the English, the Mameluke, and the Greek govern- 
ments to carry on their trade. Although they 
fotmd it highly desirable for many reasons to hold 
a local settlement of their own in those cities, 
such a possession was not a necessary accom- 
paniment of the individual and municipally reg- 
ulated commerce of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and 
fifteenth centuries. Where but a few traders made 
their way to any one market, and that only irre- 
gularly, they lodged with natives, sold their goods 
in the open market-place, organized no permanent 

' Mayr, in Helmolt, History of the World, VII., 81. 


establishment, and had no consulate. On the other 
hand, where trade was extensive and constant, the 
settlement was like a part of the home land located 
in the midst of a foreign population. 

As the fifteenth century progressed many influ- 
ences combined to bring about a change in this sys- 
tem. The most important one of these influences 
was the growth of centralized states in the north, 
centre, and west of Europe. As Russia, Denmark, 
Sweden, England, Burgundy, and France became 
strong, the self-governing cities within these coun- 
tries necessarily became politically weak; and the 
trading arrangements they had made among them- 
selves became insecure. Strong nationalities were 
impatient of the claims of privilege made by for- 
eigners settled or habitually trading in their cities; 
the interests of their own international policy often 
indicated the desirability of either favoring or oppos- 
ing bodies of merchants, which in the time of their 
weakness the governments had treated with exactly 
the opposite policy; finally, the desire of their own 
citizens for the advantages of their own foreign 
trade often commended itself to the rulers as an 
object of settled policy.^ In other words, national 
interests and municipal interests were often opposed 
to one another. 

Internal difliculties in many cities and internal 
dissensions in the leagues of cities helped to weaken 
the towns as guarantors of the trade of their citizens, 
^ Schanz, Englische Handelspolitik. 


As a result of these political influences, before the 
fifteenth century^ was over the distribution of com- 
merce was much changed and mimicipal control was 
distinctly weakened. The ItaHan and the German 
cities became less active and wealthy, while London, 
Lisbon, Antwerp, and many other centres grew 
richer. Individual cities and even leagues of cities 
ceased to be able to negotiate with other municipal- 
ities or with potentates to obtain trading privileges 
for their citizens, since such matters were now pro- 
vided for by commercial treaties formed by national 
govemm_ents. One of the main characteristics of 
earlier commerce, its dependence on city govern- 
ments, thus passed away. 

Then came the opening up of direct commerce by 
sea with the East Indies, the discovery of America, 
and the awakening of ambition, enterprise, and effort 
on the part of new nations to make still further ex- 
plorations and to develop new lines of commerce. 
The old organization of commerce was profour^dty 
altered when its centre of gravity was shifted west- 
ward to the Atlantic seaboard, and Europe got its 
Oriental products for the most part by an ocean 
route. Cities which had for ages had the advantage 
of a good situation w^ere now -unfavorably placed. 
Venice, Augsburg, Cologne, and a hundred other 
towns which had been on the main highways of 
trade were now on its byw^ays. ^lany of these 
towns made strenuous, and in some cases and for a 
time successful, efforts to conform to the new con- 


ditions.^ Vigorous industry, trade, and commerce 
continued to exist in many of the old centres, and 
some of the most famous ''merchant princes" of 
history, such as the Fuggers and the Medici, built 
up their fortunes in the old commercial cities in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Nevertheless, 
these were the exception rather than the rule ; and 
such successes were due to financial rather than 
commercial operations. In a general sense the old 
commerce of Europe, so far as it followed its ac- 
customed lines, suffered a grievous decline. 

More important than the decay of the old method 
was the growth of the new. A vast mass of new 
trade came into existence ; spices and other Oriental 
products, now that they were imported by the Port- 
uguese and afterwards by Spanish, Dutch, French, 
and English, by direct routes and by water carriage, 
were greatly cheapened in price, and thus made at- 
tainable by many more people and much more ex- 
tensively consumed. The early explorers of Amer- 
ica failed to find either the route to the East or the 
Eastern goods which they sought, but they found 
other articles for which a demand in Europe either 
already existed or was ultimately created. Sea-fish 
abounded on the northeastern coasts of America to 
a degree that partially made up their loss to the dis- 
appointed seekers for a northwest passage. Whale 
oil and whalebone were obtained in the same waters. 
Dye-woods, timber, and ship stores were found on 

* Mayr, in Helmolt, History of the World, VII., 64-66. 


the coasts farther south. Furs became one of the 
most valued and most permanent imports from 
America. Gradually, as habits in Europe changed, 
other products came to be of enormous production 
and value. Sugar stands in the first rank of these 
later products; tobacco, cocoa, and many others 
followed close upon it. As colonists from Eu- 
rope became established in the New World they 
must be provided with European and Asiatic 
goods, and this gave additional material for com- 

Besides creating an increased commerce with the 
East and a new commerce with the West, the awa- 
kened spirit of enterprise and the new discoveries 
widened the radius of trade of each nation. Men 
learned to be bold, and the merchants of each Eu- 
ropean country carried their national commerce over 
all parts of Europe and far beyond its limits to the 
newly discovered lands. English, Dutch, French, 
and Danish merchants met in the ports of the White 
Sea and in those of the Mediterranean, and com- 
peted with one another for the commerce of the East 
and the New World. Trading to a distance was the 
chief commercial phenomenon of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and was more influential than any other one 
factor in the transformation of commerce then in 
progress. Distant trading proved to have different 
requirements from anything that had gone before: 
it needed the political backing of some strong nation- 
al government; it needed, or was considered to need, 

VOL. I. — II 


a monopoly of trade; and it needed the capital of 
many men. 

These requirements were not felt in Portugal and 
Spain as they were in the other coim tries of Europe, 
because each of those countries had control of an ex- 
tensive and lucrative field of commerce, and because 
in them government itself took the direction of all 
distant trading. The Portuguese monopoly of the 
trade with the coast of India and with the Spice 
Islands was practically complete. Through most 
of the sixteenth century her ships alone rounded the 
Cape of Good Hope; her only rivals in trade in the 
East were the Arabs, who had been there long before 
her, and their traffic was restricted to a continually 
diminishing field. 

Until Portugal was united with Spain in 1580, and 
after that until Holland broke in on the Portuguese- 
Spanish monopoly of the East Indies in 1595, her 
control of Eastern commerce was as nearly perfect 
as could be wished.* Government regulation of 
this commerce extended almost to the entire ex- 
clusion of individual enterprise. The fleets which 
sailed to the East Indies were determined upon, 
fitted out, and officered by the government, just as 
those of Venice were.^ The Portuguese annual 
fleet sent to the Indies counted sometimes as many 
as twenty vessels. In the one hundred and fifteen 

^ Cunningham, Western Civilization, II., 183-190. 
^ Saalfeld, Geschichte des Portugessche Kolonialwesens, 138, 
etc., quoted in Cunningham, II., 187. 


years between 1497 ^^O- 1612 eight hundred and 
six ships were sent from Portugal to India/ all 
equipped for the voyage and fitted out by the gov- 
ernment with cannon and provided with armed 

The management of the fleet was in the hands of 
the government office known as the Casa da India. 
The merchants who shipped goods in these vessels 
and brought cargoes home in them were, it is true, 
independent traders, carrying on their business as a 
matter of private enterprise;^ but they were sub- 
ject to government regulations at every turn and 
supported by government at every step. At first 
foreign merchants were admitted to the Eastern 
trade under these conditions, but subsequently it 
was restricted to Portuguese, and ultimately became 
a government monopoly. Under this system Lisbon 
became one of the greatest commercial cities of the 
world. Venetian, Florentine, German, Spanish, 
French, Dutch, and Hanse merchants took up their 
residence in Lisbon, purchased East Indian goods 
from the merchants who imported them, and dealt 
in other imports and exports resulting from this 
activity of trade. ^ 

In Spain the government regulation of commerce 
was scarcely less close. All goods which were sent 
from Spain to America must be shipped from the one 

^ Hunter, Hist, of British India, I., 165. 

^ Cunningham, Western Civilization, IL, 187. 

^ Mayr, in lielmolt. History of the World, VJLj 7®- 


port of Seville, and they must be landed at either 
one or other of wo American ports — ^Vera Cruz, in 
Mexico, or Portobello, on the Isthmus of Panama. 
Two fleets were sent from Seville each \^ear, one for 
each of these destinations. All arrangements for 
these fleets, all licenses for those who shipped goods 
in them, and all jurisdiction over offences committed 
upon them were in the hands of the government es- 
tablishment of the Casa de Contractacion at Seville.^ 
No intruders were allowed in the Spanish colonies; 
the only persons who could take part in the trade 
were merchants of Seville, native or foreign, who 
were specially licensed by the government. Monopoly 
as well as government support was thus secured to 
the distant traders between Spain and her colonies 
in the West and in the East Indies. 

For two hundred years this system of govern- 
ment fleets in Portugal and Spain was kept almost 
intact. Since the government provided merchants 
with military defence and economic regulation, 
since it minimized competition among them and 
guaranteed to them a monopoly of commerce in the 
regions with which they traded, there was small 
need of organization or of a tmion of forces among 
them. Consequently commercial companies are al- 
most unknown in Portuguese and Spanish history.^ 

In Spain and Portugal government control of 

* Veitia Linage, Spanish Rule of Trade to the West Indies, 
book I., chap. iii. 

2 Moses, Spanish Rule in America, 166-171, 


trade was at a maximum. In the other countries 
of Europe, notwithstanding occasional plans for 
such control, as in the Netherlands in 1608,^ the 
part which government took in commercial matters 
was much less, the part taken by private merchants 
was far greater. In fact, many of the earliest trad- 
ing ventures were of an almost purely individual 
character. The patent given by Henry VII. to the 
Cabots in 1497, similar letters granted in 1502 to 
certain merchants of Bristol,^ a grant to Robert 
Thome in 1527, the long series of authorized ex- 
peditions from 1575 to 1632 in search of the north- 
west passage, the charters given to Humphrey Gil- 
bert in 1578 and to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584, 
and many other patents made out in the sixteenth 
century to prospective colony builders, all were 
granted to individuals or to groups of loosely or- 
ganized adventurers.^ 

In contrast both with government - controlled 
commerce and with purely private trading and en- 
terprise, the chartered companies of England, Hol- 
land, France, Sweden, and Denmark arose. They 
were by no means self-controlled and independent 
companies; they were dependent on their govern- 
ments for many rights and privileges and for con- 
stant support, protection, and subsidy. On the 
other hand, the governments expected them not only 
to develop a profitable trade but to furnish certain 

^ Jameson, Usselinx, 43. ' Rymer, Fcsdera (2d. ed.), XIII., 37. 
'Brown, Genesis of the United States, I,, 1-28. 


advantages to the nation, such as the creation of 
colonies, the increase of shipping, the provision of 
materials for use in the navy, the humiliation of 
political rivals, the preservation of a favorable bal- 
ance of trade, and ultimately the payment of im- 
posts and the loan of funds. They stood, therefore^ 
midway between imregulated individual trading, in 
which the government took no especial interest, and 
that complete government organization and control 
of trade which has been described as characterizing 
the policy of Portugal and Spain. 

Some fifty or sixty such companies, nearly con- 
temporaneous, and on the same broad lines of or- 
ganization, are recorded as having been chartered 
by the five governments mentioned above, a few 
in the second half of the sixteenth century, the great 
proportion within the seventeenth century.^ Of 
course, some of these companies were still-bom, 
never having gone beyond the charter received 
from the government; some existed only for a few 
years ; and some were simply reorganizations. The 
formation of these companies marks a distinct 
stage of commercial development, and furnishes a 
valuable clew to the foundation and early govern- 
ment of European colonies in America. 

England, Holland, France, Sweden, and Denmark, 
as well as Scotland and Prussia, each had an ''East 

^ Some are enumerated in Cawston and Keane, Early 
English Chartered Companies ; a still larger number in Bonnas- 
sieux, Les Grandes Compagnies du Commerce. 


India Company"; Holland, France, Sweden, and 
Denmark each had a "West India Company" ; Eng- 
land, Holland, and France each had a " Levant " or 
''Turkey Company"; England and France each 
had an "African Company"; and a date might 
readily be found in the seventeenth century when 
all these were in existence at the same time. The 
following list of such companies shows their number 
and simultaneity. The list cannot claim to be ex- 
haustive or absolutely accurate, for the history of 
many such organizations is extremely obscure, the 
dates of their foundations questionable, and some 
companies chartered at the time were, perhaps, not 
commercial in their nature. 

1554. (English) Russia or Muscovy Company. 
1576. (English) Cathay Company (first). 
1579. (English) Baltic or Eastland Company. 
1 581. (English) Turkey or Levant Company. 
1585. (English) Morocco or Barbary Company. 
1588. (English) African Company (first). 
1594. (Dutch) Company for Distant Lands. 
1596. (Dutch) Greenland Company. 
1 597-1 599. (Dutch) East India Companies (early). 
1 598-1 599. (French) Canadian Companies (early) . 
1600. (English) East India Company. 
1602. (Dutch) East India Company. 
1602. (French) Company of New France. 
1604. (French) North African Company (first). 
1604. (French) East India Company (first). 




1606. (English) London and Plymouth Companies. 

1609. (English) Guiana Company. 

16 10. (English) Newfoundland Company. 

161 1. (French) East India Company (second). 

161 2. (English) Bermuda Company. 

1 6 14. (Dutch) Company of the North, or Green- 

land Company. 

161 5. (French) East India Company (third). 

1616. (Danish) East India Company (first). 

16 1 8. (English) African Company (second). 

16 1 9. (Danish) Iceland Company (first). 

1620. (English) New England Company. 

1620. (French) Montmorency Company. 

1 62 1. (Dutch) West India Company. 

1624. (Swedish) Company for Asia, Africa, Amer- 
ica, and Magellania. 

1626. (French) Company of Senegal (first). 

1626. (French) Company of Morbihan (first). 

1626. (French) Company of Saint Christopher 

1626. (Swedish) South Sea Company. 

1626. (Swedish) East India Company. 

1628. (French) Company of One Hundred As- 
sociates of New France. 

1628. (French) North African Company (second). 

1629. (English) Company of Massachusetts Bay. 
1629. (Dutch) Levant Company (first). 

1 63 1. (English) African Company (third). 

1633. (French) West Africa Company (first). 

1634. (Dutch) Surinam Company. 


1634. (Danish) East India Company (second). 

1635. (English) China or Cathay Company. 
1635. (French) Company of West India Islands. 
1640. (French) Company of East Africa. 

1643. (French) Company of North Cape of South 


1644. (French) Company of St. Jean de Luz. 
1644. (French) Baltic Company. 

1647. (Danish) Iceland Company (second). 

1650. (Dutch) Levant Company (second). 

1 65 1. (French) Cayenne Company. 

1655. (French) West Africa Company (second). 
1660. (French) China Company. 
1662. (English) African Company (fourth). 
1664. (French) East India Company (last). 
1664. (French) West India Company (last). 
1664. (English) Canary Company. 

1669. (French) Northern Company (last). 

1670. (French) Levant Company. 

1670. (English) Hudson Bay Company. 

1 67 1. (Danish) West India Company. 

167 1. (French) Bordeaux-Canada Company. 

1672. (English) African Company (last). 

1673. (French) Senegal Company (last). 

1683. (French) Acadia Company. 

1684. (French) Louisiana Company. 
1684. (French) Guinea Company. 

1686. (Danish) East India Company (last). 

1697. (French) China Company (last). 

1698. (French) Santo Domingo Company. 


When the English commercial companies were to 
be chartered, it was not necessary to invent an en- 
tirely new type of organization. A model already 
existed ready to hand in the Society of Merchants 
Adventurers, of which the origin goes back cer- 
tainly to the fifteenth century, perhaps still ear- 
lier/ The sphere of trade of this body of export- 
ing merchants extended along the coasts of France, 
the Netherlands, and Germany, opposite England, 
and some distance into the interior.^ It is true 
that the Merchants Adventurers had many mediaeval 
features which assimilated them more to the old 
merchant and craft guilds than to the more modern 
type of chartered commercial companies which were 
about to come into existence. They had, like the 
craft guilds, a system of apprenticeship and different 
degrees of advancement in their membership.^ , 

The members were all controlled by a "stint," 
according to which an apprentice in the last year 
of his term might ship one hundred pieces of cloth 
in the year ; while a full freeman in the society could 
ship from four hundred to one thousand pieces a 
year, according to the length of time he had been 
a member.^ They were under strict regulations 
against forestalling and undue competition. They 

^ Lingelbach, Brief Hist, of the Merchant Adventurers, xxi.-xxv. 

2 Ibid., xxvii. 

3 Lingelbach, Internal Organization of the Merchant Adventurers, 

* Lingelbach, Laws and Ordinances of the Merchant Adventurers, 


could display and sell their cloth only upon Mondays, 
Wednesdays, and Fridays, and "No person shall 
stand watchinge at the corners or ends of streetes, or 
at other mens' Packhouses or at the house or place 
where anie clothe merchant or draper ys lodged, nor 
seeinge anie such in the street shall run or follow 
after hym with Intent to Entyce or lead hym to his 
packhouse, upon pain of fyve pounds ster." ^ 

In many respects, on the other hand, the Mer- 
chants Adventurers were quite similar to the later 
chartered companies, whose period of existence 
their own overlapped. In fact, considering the 
early date of their origin, the tardy development of 
English economic life, and the obstacles to trading 
in a foreign country even so near as the continental 
seaboard, the conditions which confronted them 
were much the same as those which the later com- 
panies had to meet, and they met them in much 
the same way. They obtained a charter of in- 
corporation from the king ; they possessed a monop- 
oly of trade in a certain territory, as against other 
men of their own nation; they had a common 
treasury for joint expenses ; and they acted as, and 
were even called, '' the English nation," in the foreign 
country which was their abiding-place.^ 

The Merchants Adventurers, therefore, might be 

* Lingelbach, Laws and Ordinances of the Merchant Adventu- 
rers, 89, 91. 

^ Lingelbach, Internal Organization, 29-34; Laws and Ordi- 
nances, passim; and Charters of 1462 and 1564. 


looked upon as a late surviving mediaeval merchant 
guild, modified in form by the necessity of adapting 
itself to trading in a foreign country ; or it might 
be considered as the earliest of the modern chartered 
commercial companies, still retaining in the seven- 
teenth century some of its mediaeval features. 
Viewed in either aspect, the Merchants Adventurers 
were a living model for the organization of the new 
type of companies, and the powers and form of gov- 
ernment of the latter show a similarity to the older 
company which is certainly not accidental. 

The five or six English companies whose dates 
of foundation lie within the sixteenth century all 
yield in importance, interest, and later influence to 
the East India Company, which was destined to an 
almost imperial existence of two centuries and a 
half, and which may well serve as the representa- 
tive of the English chartered companies. Its origin 
was closely connected with the international rela- 
tions of the last decades of the sixteenth century. 

The availability of the port of Lisbon as the west- 
em distributing centre for Eastern goods ceased in 
1580, when Portugal became a part of the dominions 
of the king of Spain. As war already existed be- 
tween Spain and the Netherlands, and was soon to 
break out between Spain and England, commerce was 
much disturbed; and after a few years of troubled 
intercourse that port was closed to the merchants 
of Holland and England. The union of the crowns 
of Spain and Portugal at this time had much the 


same effect on the supply of Eastern goods to 
these two Protestant seaboard states that the con- 
quests of the Turks in the eastern Mediterranean 
had had for the ItaHan cities a century before. 

It was not Hkely that the two most vigorous, free, 
and commercially enterprising states of Europe 
would allow themselves long to be excluded from 
the most attractive and lucrative trade in the 
world. After England, in her resistance to the 
Armada in 1588, applied the touchstone to the 
naval prestige of Spain and showed its hollo wness, 
her merchants and mariners took heart and pressed 
directly to the East. In 1591 an English squadron 
of three ships, under Captains Raymond and Lan- 
caster, with the queen's leave, sailed down the west- 
ern coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, 
followed the east coast to Zanzibar, and then passed 
across to Cape Comorin, Ceylon, and the Malay 
peninsula. They had mixed fortune, but one vessel 
returned home laden with pepper, obtained for the 
most part from the hold of a Portuguese prize. In 
1595 the first direct Dutch voyage was made along 
much the same route. Other English and Dutch 
voyages followed; and in 1600 and 1602, respective- 
ly, the English and Dutch East India companies 
were chartered. The following analysis of the charter 
of the former of these companies will give the main 
characteristics of the new commercial system : ^ ! 

I. The charter, granted by Queen Elizabeth on 

* Charters Granted to the East India Company, 3-26. 


December 31, 1600, was addressed by name to the 
earl of Cumberland and two hundred and fifteen 
knights and merchants, whom it created a cor- 
poration and a body politic under the name of 
^'The Governor and Company of Merchants of 
London Trading to the East Indies." 

2. The territory to which they were given priv- 
ileges of trade consisted of all continents and islands 
lying between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits 
of Magellan — that is to say, the east coast of Africa, 
the southern shore of Asia, the islands of the Indian 
Ocean, and the west coast of America; so long as 
they made no attempt to trade with any port at 
the time of the charter in the possession of any 
prince in league with Elizabeth, who should protest 
against such trade. 

3. The corporation was for all time ; but the priv- 
ileges of trade under the charter were granted for 
fifteen years, with a promise, if they should seem 
profitable to the crown and the realm, to extend 
them for fifteen years more ; and with a reservation, 
on the other hand, of the power to terminate them 
on two years' notice. 

4. The powers of the company were those of an 
ordinary corporation and body politic. The mem- 
bers of the- company and their employees possessed 
a complete monopoly of trade in the regions de- 
scribed, so far as EngHsh subjects were concerned, 
having, moreover, the right to grant licenses to non- 
members to trade within their limits. 


5. They could buy land without limitation in 
amount, and as a matter of fact the company gained 
its first foothold in each of its stations in the East 
by buying a small piece of land from the native 

6. The company could send out yearly "six good 
ships and six pinnaces with five hundred mariners, 
unless the royal navy goes forth," and these ships 
should not be seized even in times of special naval 
restraint, unless the queen's need was extreme and 
was annotmced to the company three months be- 
fore the ships w^ere impressed. 

7. They had the right, in assemblies of the com- 
pany held in any part of the queen's dominions or 
outside of them, to make all reasonable laws for 
their government not in opposition to the laws of 
England, and they could pimish by fine and im- 
prisonment all offenders against these laws. 

8. Nothing is said in the original charter of the 
powers of offence and defence, alliance and military 
organization; but these were probably taken for 
granted, as they were so generally used by mer- 
chants and navigators at the time, and were, as a 
matter of fact, exercised without limitation by the 
company from its first voyage. 

9. Especial privileges and exemptions were grant- 
ed to the company by freeing its members from the 
payment of customs for the first four voyages, by 
giving them from six to twelve months' postpone- 
ment of the payment of subsequent import duties, 


and by allowing them re-export of Indian goods free 
from customs duties. The laws against the export 
of bullion were also suspended in their favor to the 
extent of allowing them to send out on each voyage 
£30,000 in coin. 

10. The organization of this company was com- 
paratively simple, consisting of a governor, deputy 
governor, and twenty-four members of a directing 
board, ** to be called committees," * all to be elected 
annually in a general assembly or court of the 
company. The governor and committees must 
all take the oath of allegiance to the English sov- 

The East India Company remained for some years 
a somewhat variable body, as each voyage was made 
on the basis of a separate investment, by different 
stockholders, and in varying amounts. But in 1609 
the charter was renewed, and in 161 2 a longer joint- 
stock investment fixed the membership more def- 
initely. By this time the company had become, in 
fact, as permitted by its charter, a closely organized 
corporation, with well - imderstood and clearly de- 
fined rights and powers, and it was soon started on 
its career of trade, settlement, conquest, and domina- 
tion.^ . A new type of commercial organization had 
become clearly dominant. 

* The word "committee " at that time was used for a single 
person, as in the case of "trustee," "nominee," "employee," and 
similar terms. 

' Hunter, Hist, of British India, I,, 270-305. 



AN exactly typical chartered commercial com- 
iV pany, which combined all the characteristics 
of such companies, of course did not exist. The 
countries with which they expected to trade ranged 
all the way from India to Canada; the political ser- 
vices which their governments imposed upon them 
varied from the production of tar, pitch, and tur- 
pentine to the weakening of naval rivals ; while the 
personal quahties of the foimders of the companies 
and the sovereigns or ministers who gave the char- 
ters differed widely. Moreover, the later devel- 
opment of many of these companies had but little 
to do with the settlement of America. Neverthe- 
less, three companies may be chosen which exerted 
a deep influence on American colonization, and which, 
with the English East India Company described in 
the last chapter, are fairly typical of the general 
system. These are the English Virginia Company, 
the Dutch West India Company, and the French 
Company of New France. 

The charter of 1606 granted to the London and 
VOL. I.— la 147 


Plymouth companies was of an incomplete and 
transitional character ; ^ the second Virginia char- 
ter,^ however, which was granted at the request 
of the company, May 23, 1609, created a corporate 
trading and colonizing company closely analogous 
to the East India Company, as will appear from the 
following analysis: 

1. The company was chartered under the name, 
''The Treasurer and Company of Adventurers and 
Planters of the City of London for the First Colony 
in Virginia." It was fully incorporated, with a seal 
and all legal corporate powers and liabilities. In the 
charter itself were named some twenty-one peers, 
ninety-six knights, eighty-six of the lesser gentry, a 
large number of citizens, merchants, sea-captains, 
and others, and fifty-six of the London companies — 
in all, seven hundred and fifteen persons and organi- 
zations. They included a large proportion of the en- 
lightenment, enterprise, and wealth of the capital, 
and, indeed, of all England. The grant was made 
to the company in perpetuity, although, as will be 
seen, some of its special exemptions and privileges 
were for a shorter term only. 

2. The region to which the grant applied was the 

^ H. L. Osgood, " The Colonial Corporation " {Political Science 
Quarterly, XI., 264-268). This charter is printed in Stith, Hist, 
of Virginia, App. I.; in Brown, Genesis of the United States, and 

2 Printed in full in Stith, Hist, of Virginia, App. II., and, 
with a few omissions, in Brown, Genesis of the United States ^ 
I., 208-237. 


territory stretching four hundred miles along the 
coast, north and south from Chesapeake Bay, and 
''up into the land from sea to sea westward and 

The possession of the soil was given to the com- 
pany by the most complete title known to the Eng- 
lish law, but with the requirement that it be dis- 
tributed by the company to those who should have 
contributed money, services, or their presence to the 

3. Its commercial powers extended to the ex- 
ploitation of all the resources of the country, in- 
cluding mines, fisheries, and forests, as well as agri- 
cultural products ; and to the requirement that aU 
Englishmen not members of the company should 
pay a subsidy of five per cent, of the value of all 
goods brought into or taken out of the company's 
territory, and all foreigners ten per cent, of the 
value of the goods. The company might send to 
Virginia all shipping, weapons, victuals, articles of 
trade, and other equipment that might be necessary, 
and also all such colonists as should be willing to go. 

4. Powers of government in its territory were 
granted to the company with considerable com- 
pleteness, the charter declaring that it might make 
all orders, laws, directions, and other provisions fit 
and necessary for the government of the colony, and 
that the governor and other ofhcers might, ''within 
the said precincts of Virginia or in the way by sea 
thither and from thence, have full and absolute 


power and authority to correct, punish, pardon, 
govern, and rule" all the inhabitants of the colony, 
in accordance with its laws already made. 

As to offensive and defensive powers, it had the 
right to repel or expel by military force all persons 
attempting to force their way into its territories 
and all persons attempting any hurt or annoyance 
to the colony. The governor might exercise mar- 
tial law in the colony, and was provided with the 
general military powers of a lord-lieutenant of one 
of the English counties. Thus the company and 
its colony were organized not exactly as an imperium 
in imperio, but at least as an outlying imperium. 

5. As for special subsidies and privileges, the gov- 
ernment of King James was scarcely in a position to 
make money contributions for such an enterprise, 
or to give to it ships such as the continental gov- 
ernments might give to their companies; but for 
seven years the company was allowed to take out 
all that was necessary for the support, equipment, 
and defence of its colonists, and for trade with the 
natives, free of all tax or duty ; and for twenty years 
it should be free from customs on goods imported 
into Virginia, and should forever pay only five per 
cent, import duty on goods brought from Virginia to 
England. Among privileges of less material value, 
but long after remembered for other reasons, the 
charter promised to the company that all the king's 
subjects whom it should take to inhabit the colony, 
with their children and their posterity, should have 


and enjoy all liberties, franchises, and immunities 
of free -bom Englishmen and natural subjects of the 
king just as if they had remained or been bom in 
England itself. 

6. The duties to be performed by the company as 
respects the government were very few. In recog- 
nition of the socage tenure on which the land was 
held, a payment of one-tenth of all gold and silver 
was required; and the members of the council of 
the company were required to take an oath of 
allegiance to the king in the name of the com- 
pany. The main requirement from the company 
was colonization. It was fully anticipated, and in 
the preamble expressed, that the process of taking 
out settlers should be a continuous one ; and a fail- 
ure to transport colonists by the company's efforts 
would certainly have been a failure to fulfil the con- 
ditions of its charter, 

7. Although there was no requirement of absolute 
conformity with the established church of England, 
yet on the ground of the desire to carry only true 
religion to the natives it was made the duty of the 
officials of the company to tender the oath of su- 
premacy to every prospective colonist before he 
sailed, and thus to insure the Protestantism of the 

8. The form of government of the company in 
England received much attention in the charter, as 
well it might, after the failure of the arrangements 
of the former charter. The membership, quarterly 


assemblies of the general body of the members, 
more frequent meetings of a governing council of 
fifty- three officers, and their duties, were all minute- 
ly formulated; and the supremacy of this council, 
so consonant with the ideas of King James, and 
so opposed to the needs and the tendencies of the 
times, was carefully but, as it proved, unsuccessfully 
provided for/ 

The charter of the Dutch West India Company 
was granted by "The High and Mighty Lords, the 
Lords States - General of the United Netherlands," 
June 3, 1 62 1. It had already been under discus- 
sion in the various representative bodies of the 
Netherlands for fifteen years, and had been a fixed 
idea in the brain of its projector, William Usselinx, 
for at least fourteen years before that,^ advocated 
in a dozen pamphlets and a hundred memorials and 
communications, written and oral, to the States- 
General; and it had the advantage of the state's 
experience with the Dutch East India Company. 
The shape given to the West India Company in its 
charter was not, therefore, merely an outcome of 
the plans of an individual, but a resultant also of the 
influence of the earlier commercial companies, of the 
political conditions of the time, and of the ambitions, 
economic and political, of the influential merchant- 
rulers of the Netherlands.^ 

^ Osgood, " The Colonial Corporation " {Political Science 
Quarterly, XI., 269-273). ^ Jameson, Usselinx, 21, 28, 70. 

^ Ihid., 2-4. 


1 . The company was given for twenty-four years, 
during which no stockholders could withdraw and 
no new subscriptions would be received, the monop- 
oly of the Dutch trade on the west coast of Africa, 
from Cape Verd to the Cape of Good Hope ; in all the 
islands lying in the Atlantic Ocean ; on the east coast 
of America from Ne^-\^oundland to the Straits of 
Magellan; and even beyond the straits on its west 
coast, and in the southern lands which at that 
time were still believed to stretch from Cape Horn 
across the South Pacific to New Guinea. All the 
non-European regions of the globe were thus divided 
by the States-General, with even greater boldness 
than by Pope Alexander, between the East and West 
India Dutch chartered companies. 

2. Its commercial privileges included a general 
monopoly and extended to all forms of advance- 
ment of trade. 

3. As to colonization, the charter provided that 
the company " may advance the peopling of fruitful 
and -unsettled parts." Usselinx, the original author 
and the persistent advocate of the plan, would gladly 
have made more adequate provision for the estab- 
Hshment of colonies, the stimulation of agriculture 
and mining, good government in these colonies, their 
reHgious life, and the conversion of the natives. 
He had a picture in his mind of a great commercial 
dominion, settled from Holland and other countries, 
forming a market for European manufactures, and 
producing colonial goods for the use of the Nether- 


lands. ^ But the charter was granted in war time, 
and by a body of aristocratic traders, who, as Bacon 
says, *'look ever to the present gain"; so that the 
capture of Spanish plate-fieets and the sacking of 
West Indian settlements are contemplated with as 
much assurance and interest as are colonization and 
more legitimate commerce. 

4. In view of later disputes between England and 
her colonies, it is worthy of note that even such an 
enlightened advocate of a prosperous, self-governing 
colonial empire as Usselinx should have insisted, in 
16 1 8, that the colonists were to pay taxes to the 
home government, to trade with the Netherlands 
only, and to have no manufactures that would com- 
pete with those of the mother-country.^ 

5. The political or semi -public powers of the com- 
pany, according to the charter, were very extensive : 
it could form alliances and make war, so long as the 
war was defensive or retaliatory, could build forts, 
maintain troops, appoint officers, capture prizes, 
and arrest offenders on the high seas. 

6. By way of subsidy the company was given one 
million florins, the use of sixteen government ships 
and four yachts, and exemption from all tolls and 
license dues on its ships. 

7. The duties required of the company were an 
oath of fidelity to Prince Maurice, the stadtholder, 
and to the States-General, on the part of its officers ; 
the provision of a number of vessels equal at least 

* Jameson, Usselinx, 43. ' Ibid., 63, 


to those provided by the government ; the return of 
its ships whenever practicable to the ports from 
which they had set out ; the preservation for mih- 
tary purposes of all prizes captured from enemies 
of the States-General; the periodical publishing of 
accounts; and the division, after six years, of all 
surplus over ten per cent, in such a way that, in ad- 
dition to what the shareholders received, one-tenth 
should go to the States - General and one-thirtieth 
to Count Maurice. 

The government of the Dutch West India Com- 
pany was very complicated, reflecting the political 
arrangements of the Netherlands and the jealousies 
of a merchant aristocracy distributed in provinces 
and cities. There was a govemor-in-chief of the 
company's colonial possessions, but his powers were 
dependent on a general board of nineteen directors, 
who were the supreme authority in the regulation 
of the company's affairs. Below this central body 
were five territorial chambers, with a combined 
membership of seventy-eight. The numbers, pow- 
ers, and influence on the policy of the company of 
these chambers were in proportion to the wealth of 
the cities they represented and to the amount of 
the stock subscribed from these cities. The Am- 
sterdam chamber, which was to subscribe one-half 
the capital stock, was far the most influential and 
had the largest number of directors ; after it in order 
came the chambers of Zealand, of the cities on the 
Meuse, of the cities of North Holland, and of the 


cities of Friesland and Groningen. These local 
boards elected the general board, one-third of their 
number, chosen by lot, retiring each year/ 

When Richelieu became prime-minister of France 
in 1624, one of the earliest definite lines of policy 
he initiated was the formation of privileged commer- 
cial companies.^ He saw with great clearness and 
formulated in a state paper ^ the reasons for recog- 
nizing the superiority for distant commerce, tinder 
the conditions of that period, of chartered companies 
over individual traders. He was also much im- 
pressed with the power and success of the great East 
India companies of England and Holland. His first 
plan was a general French company of commerce, 
to include all the outlying sections of the world, and 
at least two such companies were chartered in suc- 
cession. They came to nothing, and soon gave place 
to companies authorized each to carry on commerce 
with a specified part of America, Africa, Europe, or 
Asia.^ The most important of these was the com- 
pany of Canada, chartered in 1628 on the plans of 
Champlain, and intended to take the place of all 
earlier companies and individual grantees having 
privileges in that region. The chartered powers and 
privileges of this company may be analyzed as fol- 
lows : 

^ Jameson, Usselinx, 33, 34. 

2 Edict of Reformation of 162J, art. 429; Isambert, Recueil 
General des Anciennes Lois Frangaises, XVI., 329. 

^ Michaud et Poujoulat, Mt'moires, I., chap, xviii., 438. 
* Pigeonneait, Hist, du Commerce, II., 426-431. 


1. The region to which they extended was "the 
fort and settlement of Quebec, with all the coun- 
try of New France, called Canada." ^ It was de- 
scribed as extending along the Atlantic coast from 
Florida to the arctic circle, and from New^otmdland 
westward to the sources of the farthest rivers which 
fell into the St. Lawrence or the "Fresh Sea." 

2. The power of the company over the soil was 
complete. It was allowed to sell or dispose of it in 
such portions and on such terms as it should see fit, 
except that if it should grant great fiefs such as 
duchies or baronies, letters of confirmation to the 
grantees should be sought from the crown. 

3. The continuance of the company in its full 
form with all powers and duties was to be for fif- 
teen years, w^hile for other purposes its life was to 
be perpetual. 

4. Its commercial privileges extended during this 
term of fifteen years to the complete monopoly of 
all kinds of commerce by sea or land, all former 
grants being withdrawn ; and the company was em- 
powered to confiscate any French or other vessels 
coming to trade within its dominions. The value 
of Canada as a source of supply for furs was already 
known, and the fur trade was placed under the spe- 
cial control of the company forever. The whale and 
seal fisheries, on the other hand, were exempted from 
its control, even for the fifteen years, and left free 
to all Frenchmen. 

* Isambert, Recueil General, XVI., 216-222. 


5. As a form of subsidy the king agreed to give 
the company two war -vessels of two hundred to 
three htmdred tons, armed and equipped for a voy- 
age; but they were to be victualled, supported, and, 
in case of loss, replaced by the company. He also 
presented them with certain cannon formerly the 
property of the East India Company. The nature 
of these gifts seems to intimate the possibility of 
warlike expeditions of the company against the 
king's enemies and its own, and prizes are referred 
to repeatedly as a possible source of income. 

6. All goods of all kinds brought from New France 
were to be exempted for fifteen years from all duties 
and imposts ; and all victuals, munitions of war, and 
all other necessaries exported from France to the 
colony should be likewise exempt. Other privileges 
were permission to nobles, clergymen, and officers to 
join the company without derogation from their 
rank, and an agreement to ennoble twelve prominent 
members of the company; full naturalization as 
French citizens of all colonists and converted na- 
tives; and the advancement of all artisans who 
should pursue their trades in the colony for six 
years, to full mastership in their respective occupa- 

7. The duties the company was bound to fulfil 
in return for these concessions were primarily those 
of colonization. The company engaged to take 
over to New France two or three hundred colonists 
of both sexes within the year 1628, and altogether 


four thousand within fifteen years; to lodge, feed, 
and provide them with the necessaries of Hfe for 
three years after their emigration; and then to as- 
sign to them enough cleared land for their support 
and enough grain to sow it and to feed them till the 
first harvest. These provisions showed a clear in- 
sight into the difficulties of settlement of a new 
coiintry, but they also imposed upon the company 
a crushing burden of expense which required true 
Gallic optimism to contemplate with any assurance 
of success. 

8. Next to peopling of the colony came the con- 
version of the heathen. Indeed, this object, with 
proper piety, was placed in the forefront of the 
edict creating the company. In each settlement the 
company was bound to provide at least three priests 
and give them support for fifteen years, or else pro- 
vide them with cleared land sufficient for their sup- 
port. After the expiration of the fifteen years, and 
for further missionary efforts, the religious needs of 
the colony were commended to the charity and 
devotion of the company and the colonists. 

9. It was required that all colonists should be 
natural-bom Frenchmen and Catholics. The abso- 
lute orthodoxy of this colony from its inception was 
in striking contrast with the freedom from religious 
restriction of the colonies planned by Coligny before 
the civil wars had forced the government to intro- 
duce rigorous conformity. 

10. The company's rights over the colony were 


great : they could appoint officers of sovereign jus- 
tice, who should be commissioned by the crown; 
and nominate military officials by sea and land over 
ships, troops, and fortresses, the king agreeing to 
appoint their nominees. They were empowered to 
build forts, forge cannon, make gunpowder, and do 
all things necessary for the security of the colony 
and its commerce. 

II. The charter contained no provisions for the 
internal government of the company, simply recog- 
nizing the existing voluntary organization of one 
himdred associates, whom it describes as a "strong 
company for the establishment of a colony of native 
Frenchmen." As far as membership extends, they 
were allowed to join to themselves any additional 
number up to another hundred. 

Thus was organized the company which, through 
the genius of Champlain and with much tribulation, 
laid the foundations of the colony of Canada. 

Considering as types these four companies dating 
from 1600, 1609, 1 62 1, and 1628, and representing 
England, Holland, and France, a comparison of their 
main characteristics leads to the following general- 
izations : 

I. It is evident that there was in early modem 
times a movement for the organization and char- 
tering of companies for distant commerce, closely 
dependent on their respective governments. These 
companies had their period of rise in the sixteenth 
century; a rapid and wide-spread development in 


the seventeenth; and a subsequent decline and 
discredit in the eighteenth. The movement was 
European; every country whose situation or ambi- 
tions would at all admit of distant trading, and 
whose system of commerce was not, like that of 
Spain and Portugal, already stereotyped under gov- 
ernment control, adopted approximately the same 

2. To each of these companies was secured by its 
charter the monopoly of trade in a particular region. 
Its members alone had power or right to carry on 
commerce with a specified people, over a specified 
extent of coasts or lands, and during a definite 
period of years. This monopoly might be only as 
against the fellow-countrymen of the members of 
the company; but an effort, generally successful, 
was made to exclude all other Europeans from each 
reserved field of commerce. 

3. The companies were based on unions of the 
capital of many merchants or other adventurers. 
An official Dutch letter on the trade with America 
speaks of "knowing by experience that without 
the common assistance of a general company navi- 
gation and commerce could not be practised, main- 
tained, and defended in the regions and quarters 
designated above, because of the great risks from 
corsairs, pirates, and other extortions which are 
met with upon such voyages." ^ The preliminary 
equipment of ships, the purchase of supplies and 

* Letters to the Dutch West India Company, June 9, 1621. 


merchandise, the acquisition of land, the building 
of forts and the supply of weapons and military 
material ; the payment of a military force to protect 
their commerce against natives or interloping Euro- 
peans ; the expenses, in many cases, of transporting 
and supporting colonists ; and, finally, the long wait- 
ing before returns could be reasonably hoped for 
— some or all of these expenses were inseparable 
from the whole plan of establishing distant trade. 
It was no wonder that individual traders gave place 
to great unions of the merchants of London, Amster- 
dam, or Dieppe, who risked part of their means and 
united their resources to form companies to trade 
with the East and West Indies, Africa, and other 
outlying parts of the world. 

4. Neither the possession of a monopoly nor the 
creation of a large, joint capital was considered 
enough to launch an enterprise of this kind. The 
grant of public or political powers by government 
was necessary to make its economic objects attain- 
able, and these were given with a free hand. The 
companies very generally received, explicitly or by 
implication, rights of peace and war, of supreme 
justice, of administrative independence, and of leg- 
islation for their own territory, members, and ser- 
vants. A chartered company was in many cases 
the holder from the crown of a wide fief in which it 
possessed more than feudal powers. As a matter of 
fact, the companies generally remained quite de- 
pendent on the home authorities, but this resulted 


from the desire to save expense, from the supremacy 
of commercial ideals, or from patriotism, rather than 
from deficiencies in their charters. 

5 . In the grant of these extensive poHtical powersv 
the home governments had ulterior motives. The 
seventeenth century was a period of intense inter- 
national rivalry, and the chartered commercial com- 
panies were pieces in the game. It was not mere 
profit in poimds, shillings, and pence which Eliza- 
beth hoped to obtain from the voyages of the ships 
of the East India Company, but a weakening of the 
power and wealth and colonial dominion of Spain. 
Even in the more peaceful times of James, the Span- 
iards saw, and were justified in seeing, in the popular 
interest in Virginia another phase of the national 
hatred of Spain. ^ It was at the close of the twelve 
years' truce between the Netherlands and Spain, 
just when the war was being resumed, that the Dutch 
West India Company was formed, and its greatest 
activity was in a warlike rivalry with its great op- 
ponent in South America. *'The reputation of this 
crown " was combined with " the glory of God " in 
the charter of the Canada Company; and most of 
the commercial and colonizing projects of France in 
the seventeenth as in the nineteenth century, had a 
large element of political pride behind them. Some- 
times it was warlike conquest, sometimes the ex- 
pulsion of a rival, sometimes the acquisition of a 

^ Letters from Zuniga to Philip III., in Brown, Genesis of the 
United States, docs, xxviii.-xxxiii., etc, 

VOL. I. — 13 


new base of operations, sometimes the obtaining of 
a more favorable balance of trade, sometimes mere 
international rivalry; but whatever the other ele- 
ments, there were always some political objects in 
addition to the hope of obtaining dividends from 

6. For the history of America, the most important 
characteristic common to the chartered companies 
of the seventeenth century is the territorial foot- 
hold they obtained in the regions where they pos- 
sessed their monopolies. It might be only a few 
acres of ground used for a fort, storehouses, and 
dwellings, which was all the English East India Com- 
pany possessed for the first century and a half of its 
existence; or it might be the almost limitless do- 
mains of the Canada or Virginia Company. There 
was no distinction between two kinds of companies, 
one for commerce, the other for colonization, but 
simply one of relative attention given to the two in- 
terests, according to the character of the regions for 
which the companies had obtained their concessions. 
All the companies expected to carry on commerce; 
all expected to plant some of their fellow-country- 
men on the soil of the country with which they 
meant to trade. If the region of their activity was 
the ancient, wealthy, thickly settled, and firmly 
governed coast of India, the settlers were only a few 
servants of the company. If, on the other hand, 
the region for which the monopoly of the company 
was granted was a broad and temperate tract, occu- 


pied by a sparse population of savages, and offering 
only such objects of trade or profit as could be col- 
lected slowly or wrested by European labor from the 
soil or the forest, the quickest way to a commercial 
profit was the establishment on the distant soil of a 
large body of colonists from the home land. 

This necessity for colonization in order to carry 
out their other objects makes the chartered com- 
mercial companies of the seventeenth century 
fundamental factors in American history. The 
proprietary companies of Virginia, Massachusetts, 
New Netherland, Canada, and other colonies were 
primarily commercial bodies seeking dividends, and 
only secondarily colonization societies sending over 
settlers. This distinction, and the gradual pre- 
dominance of the latter over the former, is the 
clew to much of the early history of settlement 
in America. The commercial object could only be 
carried out by employing the plan of colonization, 
but new motives were soon added. The patriotic 
and religious conditions of the times created an 
interest in the American settlements as places 
where men could begin life anew with new possi- 
bilities. Hence the company, the home govern- 
ment, dissatisfied religious bodies, and many in- 
dividuals, looked to the settlements in America with 
other than a commercial interest. The policy of the 
companies was modified and eventually transformed 
by the influence of these non-commercial interests. 

As financial enterprises, the chartered commercial 


companies were subject to such great practical diffi- 
culties that few of them survived for any great 
length of time or repaid their original investment 
to the shareholders. Some were reorganized time 
and again, each time on a more extensive scale, and 
each time to suffer heavier losses.^ They experi- 
enced much mismanagement and some peculation 
and fraud on the part of their directors; in some 
cases false dividends were declared for the purpose 
of temporarily raising the value of the stock. Their 
credit was bad, and they sometimes had to borrow 
money at fifty and even seventy-five per cent, in- 

They encotmtered other difficulties quite apart 
from the incompetency or dishonesty of their direc- 
tors. Parliaments and States - General were op- 
posed to monopolistic and privileged companies, and 
threw what obstacles they could in their way ; and 
political exigencies often forced even the sovereigns 
who had given them their charters to disavow and 
discourage them.^ Their greatest difficulties, how- 
ever, arose from the very nature of the problem 
which they were trying to solve. Distant commerce 
with barbarous races, amid jealous rivals, carried 
on with insufficient capital; the persuasion of re- 
luctant emigrants to establish themselves in the 

^ W. R. Scott, "The Royal African Company" (Am. Hist, 
Review, VIII., 2). 

^ Bonnassieux, Les Grandes Compagnies de Commerce, 494, etc. 

' Letter of October 8, 1607, from Zuniga to the king of Spain, 
in Brown, Genesis of the United States, I., 121. 


wilderness at a time when the mother-country was 
not yet overcrowded; the long waiting for returns 
and the failure of one dream after another — it was 
these difficulties in the very work itself that led to 
the failure of most of the companies and the scanty 
success of the others. 

Nevertheless, the companies played a very im- 
portant part in the advancement of civilization dur- 
ing the period of their existence. They enriched 
Europe with many products of the New World and 
the more distant Old World, which could hardly 
have reached it, or reached it in such abundance, 
except for the organized voyages of the chartered 
companies. The formation of chartered companies 
relieved certain nations of their dependence upon 
other nations for some of the necessities and many 
of the luxuries of life. National independence was 
furthered, at the same time that foreign products 
were made much cheaper. Spices, sugar, coffee, tea, 
chocolate, tobacco, cotton, silk, drugs, and other 
articles were made accessible to all. New shipping 
was built by the companies and additional com- 
mercial intercourse created.^ New territories were 
made valuable and new centres of activity created in 
old and stagnant as well as in new and undeveloped 
countries. Above all, the chartered companies were 
the actual instruments by which many colonies were 
foimded, and a strong impress given to the institu- 
tions of these colonies through all their later history. 

^ Bonnassieux, Les Grandes Compagmes de Commerce, 514, 




IN analyzing the forces which affected the colo- 
nization of America, the depth of the impression 
made upon Europe by the Protestant Reformation 
can hardly be overestimated. Although the direct 
and immediate influence of this great movement 
upon the fortunes of America was great, its indirect 
and remote effects have been still more impor- 
tant. One of these effects w^as the creation of a 
religious motive for emigration which, in conjunc- 
tion with other incentives, was one of the earliest 
and most constant causes for the peopling of Amer- 

It is true that the desire for reHgious freedom 
was only one among many such impelling forces. 
The desire to better their fortunes was perhaps the 
most fundamental and enduring consideration that 
influenced emigrants. Many settlers came because 
at home they had failed or were burdened with 
debt, or had become involved in ill repute or crime, 
and hoped to make a nev/ start in a new land. Many 



sought the New World as many still press to the 
frontier, from sheer restlessness and recklessness, 
from the love of adventure, the hope that luck will 
do better for them than labor. Many came as a re- 
sult of urgent inducements offered by projectors 
of colonies or agents of shipmasters, as in the case 
of the early "company servants" or the later "re- 
demptioners" or ''indentured servants." 

No inconsiderable number came because they 
were forced to come : the earlier planters of colonies 
and patentees of lands received permission to seize 
for their uses men and women of the lower classes, 
much as men were pressed into naval service; 
paupers were handed over to the colonizing com- 
panies to be shipped to their settlements ; repeatedly 
the prisons were emptied to provide colonists, and 
commissions were appointed, as in England in 
1633, ''to reprieve able-bodied persons convicted 
of certain felonies, and to bestow them to be used 
in discoveries and other foreign employments." ^ 
Somewhat later, transportation to the colonies to 
labor for a fixed number of years became a familiar 
form of commutation of the death penalty, and 
after 1662 it was made the statutory penalty for 
certain offences. 

Yet among this multiplicity of motives for emi- 
gration to the colonies religion held a peculiar place. 
Many men for whom the dominant inducement was 
a more material one were partly led by religious 

^Cal. of State Pap., Domestic, 1631-1633, p. 547. 


motives; many of the changes in Europe that un- 
settled men and made them more ready to leave 
their old homes were results of the Reformation. 
Religious motives were the earliest to send any really 
large body of settlers to the English colonies, and 
they remained for more than a century probably 
the most effective motives. 

During the first twenty years of the settlement of 
Virginia, where the religious incentive was least 
strong, less than six thousand settlers came over; 
during the first twenty years of the settlement of 
New England, where it was strongest, there were 
more than twenty thousand. The later churchmen 
of Virginia and the Carolinas, the Catholics of Mary- 
land, the Quakers of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, 
and a great body of Presbyterians, Huguenots, 
Mennonites, Moravians, and adherents of other sects 
which were products of the Reformation, sought 
tmder the more liberal laws of the colonies the re- 
ligious liberty which they could not find at home. 

The working of this influence in England will ap- 
pear in a later chapter on the religious history of 
that country during this period ; its peculiar develop- 
ment in Germany seems to demand a further word 
of explanation here. Three forms of reformed doc- 
trine and organization — Lutheranism, Calvinism, 
and Zwinglianism — grew up on German soil in the 
years between 151 7 and 1555, and obtained more or 
less extensive recognition and power from imperial, 
princely, or city authorities. Lutheranism, the 


most moderate and widely accepted form of Prot- 
estantism, was officially established in most of the 
central and northern and in some of the southern 
states and cities; Calvinism, less widely extended 
but more strictly organized, held a similar position 
in the southwest; while the doctrines of Zwingli, 
which had been adopted and were enforced in the 
greater part of Switzerland, spread to a number of 
those southern regions of Germany from which 
Switzerland was as yet indistinctly separated.^ 

A vast number of earnest souls were not satisfied 
with any of these forms of official religion, and even 
in the earliest days of the Reformation, preachers 
arose who went beyond the moderate reforms of 
Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin, and whose teachings 
gained a ready acceptance. In Saxony, in Hesse, in 
South Germany, and in Moravia; in the cities of 
Constance, Strasburg, Augsburg, and Nuremberg ; in 
the Netherlands and in Switzerland, there was much 
preaching and formation of independent religious 
communities quite apart from, and indeed in oppo- 
sition to, the official Reformation.^ These radical 
preachers and their followers represented very dif- 
ferent beliefs and practices. That which was com- 
mon to them all was an acceptance of the Bible 
literally interpreted as a guide both to doctrine and 
to church organization. The effort to return to the 

^ Armstrong, The Emperor Charles V ., I., 228-231. 
' Moeller, Hist, of the Christian Church (English trans.), III., 
36, 64, 88, 94. 


apostolic organization of the church led them to 
reject any but an unpaid ministry, and to insist that 
none should be members of their congregations ex- 
cept such as were personally converted and who 
conformed their lives to the teachings of the Bible. 

Their idea was, therefore, the formation of little 
companies separated from the surrounding people 
of the world rather than the Lutheran or Zwing- 
lian plan of a reorganization of the national church 
on Protestant lines en masse. An austere piety, 
the wearing of plain clothes, the avoidance of forms 
of social respect, the refusal to take an oath or to 
hold civil office, an assertion of the sinfulness of 
paying or receiving tithes or interest, an approach 
to communistic practice in matters of property — 
some or all of these were widely disseminated among 
the lower classes of the people to whom such teach- 
ings principally appealed. 

The doctrine which came nearest to being a point 
of uniformity and a possible bond of union among 
these reformers was their objection to infant bap- 
tism. To them baptism was the mark of a person- 
ally attained relation to Christ, and was, therefore, 
meaningless when administered to an unconscious 
infant. Certain "prophets" who came to Witten- 
berg from Zwickau confronted Luther and Melanc- 
thon with this principle as early as 1 5 2 1 ; and radical 
reformers proclaimed it in opposition to Zwingli at 
Zurich in 1523. Everywhere advocacy of an exact 
adherence to the verbal teaching of Holy Writ and 


a rejection of the claims of an established church, 
were accompanied by opposition to infant baptism. 
In 1525 for the first time the logical deduction from 
their premises was made; those baptized only in 
their infancy were asserted not to have been effec- 
tively baptized at all, and were rebaptized as a sign 
of their conversion.^ From this time onward re- 
baptism, or, from the point of view of its advocates, 
the first valid baptism, became the test and mark 
of adoption into many communities of true believers. 
Those who practised this rite were, therefore, called 
''Anabaptists " — that is to say, those who baptized 
a second time — or, more frequently, merely "Bap- 

The rebaptism of a person who had been already 
once baptized w^as not only in the eyes of the es- 
tablished church an impiety, it was in the eyes 
of the established law a capital crime, and the his- 
tory of Anabaptism in Germany is the history of a 
long martyrdom. In Catholic and Protestant coun- 
tries alike these radicals were persecuted. From 
Strasburg and Nuremberg they were expelled, in 
Zurich their leaders w^ere drowned, in iVugsburg they 
were beheaded, in Austria, Wittenberg, Bavaria, 
and the Palatinate they were burned at the stake. 

In 1534 their sect was brought into sudden and 
fatal prominence by the revolt in ]\Iunster and its 
vicinity. Here a body of adherents of radical re- 
ligious doctrines added to their creed a tenet not 

* Moeller, Hist, of the Christian Church (English trans.) , III., 65. 


common to the general body of Anabaptists — that 
is to say, the duty of taking up temporal arms to 
overthrow the existing powers and to introduce the 
New Jerusalem. The old episcopal city was seized 
by the Anabaptist leaders, bloody battles were 
fought, and after a six months' orgy of fanaticism, 
libertinism, and violence the rebels were defeated by 
the united troops of Catholic and Lutheran powers 
and a terrible vengeance taken. 

Anabaptists everywhere, no matter how peaceable 
and moderate their principles, suffered under the 
imputation of holding such doctrines as had led to 
the terrible excesses at Miinster, as they had long 
before been held to sympathize with the Peasants' 
Revolt; and their persecutions became correspond- 
ingly harsher. Nevertheless, they continued to 
form communities and to spread through Germany, 
the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The attractive- 
ness of the teachings of wandering Anabaptist 
preachers long continued unabated, and their regu- 
larly organized congregations or communities, be- 
cause of their thrift, honesty, and plainness of life, 
survived and flourished, wherever they could ob- 
tain even the barest and most temporary toleration. 

They were necessarily a people without a national 
home. Seldom for a whole generation did any con- 
siderable body of Anabaptists or Pietists remain 
undisturbed in any one locality. Expelled by im- 
perial edict from Bohemia, they made their way to 
Hungary and Transylvania; fined, imprisoned, and 


in danger of death in Protestant Switzerland, they 
migrated to the Tyrol, to the Palatinate, and to the 
south German cities, only soon to be visited there 
with still worse persecution. During the two great 
religious wars they suffered especial hardships, and 
in the midst of the Thirty Years' War they were 
rigorously expelled by the emperor from all his 
hereditary dominions, even from Moravia, where 
they had been allowed to exist for almost a cen- 

Either from original difEerences of doctrine and 
personal influence, or from later divisions and re- 
organization, grew up those bodies which, although 
often, as has been seen, grouped under the general 
head of Anabaptists, have become known in Europe 
and America as Mennonites, Amish, and Dunkers; 
and each of these bodies has experienced various 
divisions. The Schwenkf elders, Boehmists, and 
other mystics or pietists, are habitually grouped 
with these sects, rather because of their similar 
historical origin and attitude to the established 
churches than of any identity of religious belief. 

By the close of the seventeenth century the con- 
dition of these dissenters from the established 
churches had become more tolerable ; but they were 
at best a remnant, narrowed in spirit by persecu- 
tion, repeatedly separated from their earlier homes, 
still under the ban of ecclesiastical disapproval, and 

* Moeller, Hist, of the Christian Church (English trans.), III., 


even where tolerated living under burdensome re- 
strictions. The rising colonies of the New World, 
especially those which promised religious liberty, 
and above all that one of them whose Quaker f oimder 
held doctrines so like their own, must have exerted, 
notwithstanding their alien race and tongue, an al- 
most irresistible attraction upon them. In view of 
the political and religious history of Germany in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it is therefore 
no wonder that a vast number of Germans emigrated 
to America, and that in Pennsylvania were soon to 
be found numerous representatives of every religious 
sect that existed in the fatherland. 

The religious divisions which sprang from the 
Protestant Reformation were not restricted to the 
Old World. In America, also, religion was a cen- 
trifugal influence, splitting up old colonies, and es- 
tablishing new centres of population, which in turn 
attracted other groups of emigrants from Europe, 
and brought into existence still other types of 
government and society.^ The results were shown 
in the characteristics of Rhode Island and 
Connecticut, of Germantown and Bethlehem, in 
some of the principal contrasts between New 
France and New England, and in many of the 
lesser diversities that have distinguished different 
sections of America in their subsequent history. 
Many influences combined to give form and 
character to each American settlement: its race 

* Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 266-346. 


elements, the commercial requirements of the con- 
trolling chartered company, the demands of the 
home government, the theoretical ideas of the 
founder, the habitudes of the colonists in the lands 
from which they came. Among these influences, 
as among the motives for emigration, the religious 
experiences and desires of the settlers were a prime 

The Reformation indirectly affected America by 
wars which soon led to the rise of some nations, the 
fall of others; they pitted -Catholic states against 
Protestant states, they weakened Germany, France, 
and the southern Netherlands by a sanguinary civil 
struggle, and were avoided in England only by 
harsh persecution. 

In the Iberian peninsula the progress of Protes- 
tantism was so slight and so quickly crushed out 
that it played no part in the colonization of Portu- 
guese or Spanish America. It is true that the some- 
what outworn machinery of the Inquisition was re- 
juvenated in the sixteenth century, so as to reach a 
Protestant movement in Seville, the sailing-point for 
the American fleets ; and this was made an excuse for 
the introduction of a stricter and more vigorous policy 
of orthodox tmiformity in Spain. The Inquisition 
also found occupation in looking after heretic for- 
eign merchants and sailors in Spanish seaports, and 
Jews and Protestant Germans in the American colo- 
nies ; but no Spaniards ever emigrated to America 
to escape religious persecution. 


As for France, the terrible religious wars of the 
sixteenth century weakened her projects of coloni- 
zation, as they did all her other activities, and 
divided her people into two hostile parties, one 
of which must ultimately crush out the other. 
The short-lived colonies established in the middle 
years of the sixteenth century in Brazil and in 
Florida were due largely to the hope that they 
might be places of refuge for oppressed Huguenots. 
The first French colonies which had any successful 
outcome, however, were the creation of the other 
religious party; for Richelieu, when he took up 
the establishment of colonies in 1624, insisted on 
Catholic orthodoxy in the religion of the colonists. 
This precaution was doubtless due to the Huguenot 
efforts for independence and their treasonable 
negotiations in France. In founding distant colo- 
nies as extensions of the power of the home govern- 
ment, a minister could hardly permit the domina- 
tion in the new colonies of a party with which he 
was in deadly conflict at home. Whatever his mo- 
tive, orthodoxy was insisted on ; and New France, 
like New Spain, became unbrokenly Catholic. 

The English colonies, however, ultimately profited 
by what the French colonies had lost. After the 
revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, persecu- 
tion sent a stream of Huguenots to the various 
English colonies of America, and added thereby a 
valuable and interesting strain to the richly mingled 
blood of the American race. 




THE revolt of the Netherlands, which created a 
new and vigorous European state in the six- 
teenth century, and a great commercial and coloniz- 
ing world-power in the seventeenth, was as much a 
religious as a political movement. The centraliz- 
ing, autocratic, and unconciliatory policy of Philip 
II. was probably enough in itself to have caused re- 
bellion in the Netherlands; while the religious con- 
flict was so bitter that it would almost certainly 
have caused a revolt, even if there had been no polit- 
ical friction. The revolt of 1568 and the war which 
lasted till 1609, as a matter of fact, turned on causes 
belonging equally to both fields. 

When Charles V. visited the Netherlands in 1520, 
on his way to claim the imperial crown, the twenty- 
two provinces then gathered into his hands were 
all nominally Catholic; and the large majority of 
the population were sincerely attached to Rome. 
Yet reformed doctrines soon made their way into 
the country in several forms. In the southern and 

VOL I.— 14 xyg 


central states, Flanders, Brabant, Hainault, Holland, 
and Zealand, Calvinism entered from France; into 
Friesland and North Holland came many Mennon- 
ites; in some of the towns there were Anabaptists; 
in the great commercial cities, such as Antwerp and 
Amsterdam, Lutherans were numerous, some of 
them immigrants from Germany, some converted 
to that faith through the communications between 
lower Germany and the adjacent provinces of the 
Netherlands/ Even the Catholics of the Nether- 
lands were not of a bigoted or militant type ; heresy 
had been wide-spread there since the thirteenth 
century, and the inhabitants had not the horror of 
it that was felt in some more orthodox countries.^ 
Among the wealthy, turbulent, strong-minded, 
and patriotic Netherland burghers and peasantry 
Reformation doctrines and principles readily spread 
and gained acceptance; yet they were met by the 
most determined and harsh opposition from the gov- 
ernment which now held the Netherlands in the hol- 
low of its hand. In 1521 Charles V. issued from 
Worms an edict dooming to loss of property and 
death every Dutch, Flemish, or Walloon adherent 
of the teachings of Luther; and in 1523 two monks 
were burned at Brussels as first-fruits of the long and 
miserable harvest which was so abundantly reaped 

* Blok, Hist, of the People of the Netherlands (English trans.), 
III., 22. 

' Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, I., Introd., xii. 


A series of edicts known as the ''Placards" was 
now issued by Charies, prohibiting private meetings 
for rehgious worship, reading of the Scripture by lay- 
men, discussions on questions of faith, the destruc- 
tion of religious emblems, the harboring of heretics, 
the possession of heretical books, and, in general, all 
heretic or non - Catholic opinions and practices. 
These edicts were enforced by all the power of the 
civil government, and by the activity of four inquisi- 
tors. The " Placards" reached their culmination in 
the edict of 1550, renewing and making more severe 
all punishments for religious offences. When Charles, 
in 1 5 56, laid down the burden of government in favor 
of his son, the persecutions had numbered their 
hundreds, if not thousands, of victims; but heresy 
had spread only the more widely, and Protestantism 
in its various forms had become only the stronger. 

Philip II. entered upon the struggle with heresy 
even more vigorously than his father. Even the 
Catholics of the Netherlands were opposed to the 
enforcement of the ''Placards," while the heretics 
who were suffering and multiplying under it were 
looking forward almost desperately to some change 
that would make their position more tolerable. The 
States-General, the nearest approach to a national 
legislature that the Netherlands possessed, in 1559 
pleaded for mildness. It was only the Spanish ruler 
who was determined to apply the heresy laws in all 
their vigor ; and when he left the Netherlands and 
began to direct their administration from Spain, the 


religious question became more and more the great 
unifying element in national resistance to his policy. 
William of Orange, in the council of state, took the 
lead in drawing up a petition to the king for the 
amelioration of the " Placards " and for the suspen- 
sion of the decrees for an inflexible orthodoxy which 
had just been promulgated from Trent. He pointed 
out the necessity of recognizing the proximity and 
influence of Lutheran Germany upon the Nether- 
lands, the actual extension of Protestantism in the 
provinces, and the degree to which the old church 
had lost its authority over the hearts of men. In 
words that rose in dignity and significance far above 
the ordinary contests of Catholics and Protestants, 
he declared: "I am Catholic, and will not deviate 
from religion; but I cannot approve the custom of 
kings to confine men's creed and religion within 
arbitrary limits." * Philip replied to this petition 
of the Catholic nobles of the Netherlands by the 
edict of Segovia, dated October 17, 1565, insisting 
more vehemently than ever before on the enforce- 
ment of the laws against heresy in all their severity, 
including what was practically the introduction of 
the Spanish Inquisition. On the other hand, the 
Reformation pressed on with rapid strides; vast 
crowds gathered outside of Toumai, Harlem, Ant- 
werp, and other cities to listen to Calvinist preach- 
ers. Ten, twelve, and twenty thousand of the pop- 

* Blok, Hist, of the People of the Netherlands (English trans.), 
III., 14. 


ulace assembled at a time to sing psalms and hymns 
and to listen to the appeals of teachers eloquent and 
devout, but almost invariably heretical. 

The inevitable crisis was now hastening on. The 
lesser nobles, including some Calvinists, soon formed 
the "Confederation," sent their petition to the king, 
and in 1567 broke out in fruitless rebellion. Al- 
most at the same time the mob rose in the image - 
breaking riots which spread like wild-fire over all 
the provinces except the most southern. Then 
came Alva, with his unlimited powers, his veteran 
troops, his ''Council of Blood," his more than ten 
thousand victims of political and religious persecu- 
tion, and the awful severity and barbarity that have 
made his name a synonym of cruelty and heartless 
despotism. William of Orange brought an army 
into Brabant in 1568, and revolt was soon in full 
progress. Even under Charles V. there had been 
much emigration from the Netherlands to Germany 
and England, to escape religious persecution. Now 
the barbarities of Alva increased the number many- 
fold. It was estimated that there were at one time 
sixty thousand Dutch and Walloon refugees living 
in England. By 1568 the emigrants were said to 
number four hundred thousand. 

As the revolt progressed and the various cities 
expelled the officers of the Spanish governor and put 
themselves under the banner of Orange, they be- 
came little oases of toleration. The instructions of 
William to his lieutenants in the north in 1572 or- 


dered them *'to restore fugitives and the banished 
for conscience' sake — and to see that the Word of 
God is preached, without, however, suffering any 
hindrance to the Roman Church in the exercise of 
its rehgion." ^ By November, 1576, when the 
treaty known as the Pacification of Ghent was made 
between Holland and Zealand on the one hand and 
the fifteen southern provinces on the other, liberalism 
in religious views had progressed as far as the power 
of the patriotic party extended; and all '' Placards" 
and edicts on the subject of religion were suspended 
till a national assembly should take final action on 
the subject. At the same time it was provided that 
there should be no action against the Catholic re- 
ligion, outside the territory of Holland and Zealand.^ 
Soon the Flemish provinces, where Protestantism 
had made least headway and where distrust of the 
north was strong, were ''pacified" by Don John of 
Austria and Alexander of Parma. The Union of 
Arras, of January 6, 1579, became a centre of union 
and reconciliation to Spain and Catholicism for the 
fifteen southern provinces. Just three weeks after- 
wards the Union of Utrecht was formed, which 
united the seven northern provinces and became the 
basis of the free republic of the United Netherlands : 
each province was to make its own religious ar- 
rangements, though toleration was secured by the 

^ Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, pt. iii. 
2 Blok, Hist, of the People of the Netherlands (English trans.), 
III., 105, 106. 


provision that no one should be molested or ques- 
tioned on the subject of divine worship/ Thus 
while the southern provinces set their feet in the 
path of a return to Roman Catholic uniformity, the 
northern provinces pledged themselves to toleration 
of Catholics and of all sects of Protestants aHke. 

Toleration is to the modem student the chief in- 
terest and glory of the foundation of the United 
Netherlands; but it w^as not toleration but Protes- 
tantism which then gave the young republic its 
peculiar strength, vigor, and enterprise. Even in 
the Pacification of Ghent and the Union of Utrecht, 
Holland and Zealand were recognized as Protestant 
states. As the bitter struggle progressed, their 
Protestantism became more pronounced and more 
militant. Exiled Calvinists from the south flocked 
to iVmsterdam, Middleburg, Rotterdam, and other 
northern cities in great numbers, intensifying the 
Protestant character of these communities and en- 
riching them with capital, business ability, and 
an astonishingly large proportion of gifted men.^ 
The formal abjuration of Philip by the United 
Provinces in 1581, on grounds so largely religious, 
could not but bring into still greater prominence the 
Protestantism of the country which now claimed its 
independence. The long - continued warfare that 
followed the assassination of the beloved prince of 
Orange, the sieges, mutinies, and battles by land and 

* Arts. 5, 9, 10, II, 12, 13, quoted in Motley, pt. vi,, chap, i, 
- Jameson, Usselinx, 27. 


sea, steadily deepened the religious and political 
hatred between the Netherlands and Spain. 

By the year 1596 internal theological struggles 
between Remonstrants and Contra - Remonstrants 
approached the proportions of a civil war; and the 
victory gained by the latter party through the inter- 
vention of the stadtholder Maurice connected relig- 
ion and politics, church and state, even more clearly, 
and made still more intense the fiery Protestantism 
of the Dutch government/ Strengthened by her 
efforts, hardened by her struggles, awakened to 
vigorous life by the exhilaration of the long and ar- 
duous conflict, the little Protestant state approached 
the end of the sixteenth century, enterprising in 
internal plans and eager for new fields of foreign 
commerce. The probability that commercial ex- 
pansion would bring her into conflict with Spain 
added zest to the prospect and gave promise that in 
extending trade, conquering distant possessions, and 
establishing colonies, she would at the same time be 
weakening her bitterest enemy. 

Hence the early Dutch expeditions to the Indies, 
the formation of the East and West India Companies, 
the establishment of the colonies in Brazil, Guiana, 
and North America, and of commercial factories in the 
East Indies, were all of them in a certain sense part 
of the religious and political struggle between the 
Netherlands and Spain. When the twelve years' 

* Blok, Hist, of the People of the Netherlands (English trans.), 
III., 398-447. 


truce was signed, in 1609, those provinces which had 
returned to the Spanish obedience were uniformly 
CathoHc, but their prosperity and international 
significance had disappeared. The independent 
provinces, on the other hand, were, for all their tol- 
eration, almost uniformly Protestant, and they were 
already one of the great maritime and commercial 
powers of Europe/ 

The United Netherlands speedily colonized New 
Amsterdam, Guiana, Cape Colony, Java, and other 
places, with a population persistent in Protestantism 
and in many race characteristics. Unfortunately 
for Holland the number of her emigrants was never 
great enough to enable her permanently to play a 
great part in the history of colonization. The 
Dutch are not an emigrating people. Yet those 
who did emigrate carried with them such an asser- 
tive character and so highly developed a group of 
institutions that the}^ exercised a deep and per- 
manent influence over communities like New York, 
in which they soon ceased to be the dominant ele- 
ment; while their institutions in Holland made 
such a strong impression upon English sojourners 
in their midst that some of their characteristics re- 
appeared long afterwards in American colonies in 
which no Dutchman had ever settled.^ 

The Reformation, with the wars to which it gave 
rise, made Germany for a time the most conspicu- 

^ Blok, Hist, of the People of the Netherlands (English trans.), 
III., 326-334. 2 Douglas Campbell, Puritan in Holland. 


ous state in Europe, but its ultimate effect was to 
reduce that state to a degree of material poverty, 
political insignificance, and intellectual torpidity 
unknown before in her experience. Civil war was 
long delayed ; the political necessities and the astute 
policy of Charles V., the conservative instincts and 
patriotic scruples of Luther, and the doubtful posi- 
tion of many of the German provinces and cities, 
long prevented any attempt by the emperor to en- 
force the orthodoxy required by the Diet of Worms, 
and induced the Lutherans to go more than half- 
way in accepting the policy of postponement/ Yet 
even this early period was troubled by successive 
minor outbreaks of violence. The " Knights' War" 
of 1523, the Peasants' Revolt of 1524 and 1525, 
the Zwinglian wars in Switzerland in 1531, and the 
Anabaptist outbreak at Miinster in 1534 were all 
connected with the religious ferment of the times. 

From 1530, when the League of Schmalkald was 
formed to unite the Protestant princes and cities, 
Germany really belonged to two camps, and civil war 
was only a question of time. The time came in 
1546, the year of Luther's death, when Charles 
was at last free from foreign complications and 
could make the attempt to reintroduce conformity 
into Germany. The Schmalkaldic War, although 
marked by a series of imperial successes and tem- 
porarily closed by a triumphant truce in 1548, was 

^ Armstrong, The Emperor Charles V., I., 201-203, 240-256, 


soon renewed, and the Peace of Passau of 1552 
was a general compromise, representing rather the 
weariness of war and the jealousies of the various 
powers of Germany than any permanent political 
or religious equilibrium. An attempt was made to 
establish a more lasting settlement in the conference 
of Augsburg in 1555. Here the terms of the recent 
treaty were put in more formal shape : Lutheranism 
was given legal recognition; all religious disputes 
should be settled by peaceful means ; in legal causes 
between a Protestant and a Catholic the Imperial 
Hight Court of Justice should be composed of an 
equal number of Catholics and Protestants. 

On the other hand, certain compromises were then 
introduced which were destined to be fatal to the 
permanency of the religious and political settlement. 

1. Instead of iadividual toleration, as was orig- 
inally proposed, the principle was adopted which 
has become known as ciijus regio ejus religio — that 
is to say, each prince or imperial city should choose 
between Catholicism and Lutheranism; and there- 
after all inhabitants must conform, or, if unwilling 
to do so, must expatriate themselves. The unstable 
equihbrium of the empire was thus transferred to 
the individual states, and each was threatened with 
internal revolution whenever there was a change 
in the prevailing reHgious views of the inhabitants 
or the personal beHefs of the prince. 

2. A second compromise was reached by provid- 
ing that all ecclesiastical property seized by tern- 


poral governments down to the close of the late 
war should be guaranteed to its new possessors; 
but that for the future the process of seculariza- 
tion should cease. Thus an artificial obstacle was 
placed in the way of the avarice or the desire for 
reform of the Protestant princes, at the very time 
they were given increased control in their own states. 

3. The ''ecclesiastical reservation" made an ex- 
ception to the right of territorial independence in 
religion in the case of the ecclesiastical states, which 
were so numerous in Germany. If any archbishop, 
bishop, or abbot, who was also a secular prince, 
should become a Lutheran, he must resign his office 
and divest himself of his power and jurisdiction, 
which would pass to his Catholic successor. This 
provision deprived Protestant subjects of ecclesias- 
tical princes of all prospect of religious freedom, and 
doomed them to compulsory reconciliation with the 
Catholic Church or to exile, except for certain rights 
guaranteed to them by the treaty. 

4. The compromises of Augsburg were compro- 
mises between Catholics and Lutherans only, and' 
neither Calvinists nor Zwinglians were given recog- 
nition in its terms, although Calvinism was destined 
to be the great aggressive force of the Reformation, 
making an appeal to the masses of the people and 
taking a fundamental hold upon its adherents be- 
yond anything which Lutheranism, or indeed any 
other form of the Reformation, ever obtained. 

The agreement reached in 1555, incomplete and 


unstable as it seemed, remained the foundation of 
an outward if somewhat troubled religious peace for 
more than sixty years. Yet a renewal of the con- 
flict was threatened from time to time, and in 161 8 
the terrible Thirty Years' War broke out. The ear- 
lier contests had been civil wars only ; the renewed 
war was no longer merely a German struggle. In 
1625 Christian IV., king of Denmark, entered the 
war as leader on the Protestant side, only to yield 
to the perseverance of Tilly, the general of the Cath- 
olic armies, and to the genius of Wallenstein, the 
representative of Emperor Ferdinand ; and to retire 
in 1629, leaving north Germany more completely 
than before at the mercy of the emperor and of the 
Catholic party. Scarcely a year later Gustavus 
Adolphus, full of enthusiasm for the Protestant 
cause and provided with ftmds from France, brought 
his veteran regiments and his military ability from 
Sweden into Germany, and fought in consecutive 
years his three wonderful campaigns. After the 
death of the* 'Lion of the North," in 1632, the 
** Swedish period" endured still two years; and 
when, in 1634, Catholic and Protestant princes en- 
tered upon a truce they made terms upon an equal- 
ity, though there was even yet but little promise 
of a permanent settlement. 

Just before the fatal battle of Liitzen, in the 
midst of military preparations, a decisive step was 
taken by Gustavus which ultimately led to the crea- 
tion of one more American colony. Ever since the 


regeneration of Sweden under the kings of the house 
of Vasa, and still more markedly after the adop- 
tion of the Reformation, efforts had been made to 
extend Swedish relations with other countries.^ 
Therefore when William Usselinx, who had been so 
influential in the establishment of the Dutch West 
India Company, left Holland in 1624, and presented 
himself to Gustavus Adolphus in Gothenburg, he 
received a read}^ welcome, and was engaged by the 
king to organize a similar company for Swedish 
trade with the distant parts of the world. ^ Sweden 
was poor, the king was much absorbed in his mili- 
tary operations, and the plans for a "General Com- 
mercial Company of the Kingdom of Sweden" 
dragged along slowly, only stirred into life from 
time to time when there was a prospect that a naval 
war might enable the company to add the profits 
of privateering to the ordinary reward of commerce. 
The untiring efforts of the promoter of the plan, 
however, and the sincere interest taken in it by 
the king, kept the proposal still in existence; and 
in his camp at Nuremberg, October, 1632, three 
weeks before his death, Gustavus gave his approval, 
though not his actual signature, to an extended 
and amplified charter of the Swedish West India 

Six months later, at Heilbronn, the charter was 
signed by Chancellor Oxenstjema, creating it a 
company with powers of trade, settlement, and gov- 

^ Jameson, Usselinx, 95-97. ^ Ibid., 88-94. 


emment on the coasts of America, Africa, and Asia/ 
There was after this time, as before, a close con- 
nection between the progress of the great war and 
the fortunes of the Swedish colonizing company. 
It was the exaltation produced by the prominent 
part taken by the northern kingdom in that strug- 
gle that gave its rulers and merchants courage and 
ambition for such distant enterprises. It was the 
war that brought Sweden into close relations with 
other and more advanced countries of Europe, es- 
pecially with the Netherlands, which was already 
playing a part in distant commerce and settlement. 
It was a momentary renewal of her triumphs in 
Germany and a temporary combination of Swedish 
and Dutch capital that led to the sending out of 
the Kalmar Nyckel and the Gripen, under the aus- 
pices of the company, and the founding of New 
Sweden on the Delaware in 1638.^ 

The peace of 1634 was of short duration, and the 
''French period" ensued, when for twelve years 
armies of Swedes, French, Spaniards, and Danes, 
besides those of the German states themselves, 
fought to and fro through the empire. Nor was it 
till the definitive peace of Westphalia, in 1648, that 
the war actually came to an end. Thus through a 
whole generation Germany was torn by warfare, 
humiliated by foreign interference, and confused by 

^ Jameson, Usselinx, 168. 

2 Odhner (trans, by G. B. Keen), in Pa. Magazine of Hist, 
and Biog., III., 269-284. 


the introduction of new issues. One after another, 
foreign states were drawn into the struggle until a 
mere German civil war had developed into a general 
European conflict, in which foreigners were strug- 
gling for German territory. Catholics made alli- 
ances with Lutherans and with Calvinists, until what 
had begun as a religious struggle became a purely- 
political contest among unpatriotic German princes 
and ambitious neighbors of Germany contending for 
power and prestige. 

When, at the peace of 1648, political questions 
had been settled, territorial changes agreed upon, 
the Netherlands and Switzerland definitely separated 
from the empire, Alsace surrendered to France, and 
much of Pomerania to Sweden, the religious con- 
flict was brought to an end as far as possible by re- 
turning to the old plan of the treaty of Augsburg, 
except that such toleration as was then granted to 
Catholics and Lutherans was now extended to Cal- 
vinists also. To these provisions some further ex- 
tensions of religious liberty were added by secur- 
ing guarantees of protection to subjects differing in 
their religion from their princes and by including 
in the highest imperial tribunal a certain number of 

The material sufferings and losses of Germany 
during the war were almost beyond description. ^ 

^ Lamprecht, Deutsche Geschichte, V., sect ii., 764. 
' Erdmannsdorffer, Deutsche Geschichte, 1 648-1 740, I,, 100- 


The armies, made up largely of soldiers ot different 
nationalities, without attachment to the countries 
through which they marched, without interest in 
the questions at issue, without a regular commis- 
sariat, often without pay, brutalized by long cam- 
paigning and repeated sacks of cities, followed by 
an immense rabble of non-combatant men, women, 
and children, were a barbarian horde, and ravaged 
the lands in which they were established like a fire 
or a pestilence. The tortures they inflicted upon 
the peasantry and the citizens, the robbery, the out- 
rages, the wanton destruction, pressed close to the 
limits of human endurance, and seemed almost to 
threaten the extermination of the population. The 
prosperity of the cities was crushed by war contribu- 
tions, even when they escaped being plundered like 
Magdeburg ; and the debasement of the coinage prac- 
tised by the emperor and the princes bore hardly 
upon all who bought or sold.^ During the later 
campaigns of the war military operations in many 
regions became almost impracticable from the very 
impoverishment of the country; no sustenance ex- 
isted for friend or for enemy; population in some 
parts was almost destroyed, and it was every- 
where extensively displaced.^ The conservatism, 
the settled rooting of the people in the soil, acquired 
and inherited property, moral and material fixity, 
were all alike disturbed. 

* Gindeley, History of the Thirty Years' War (English trans.), 
II., 390-395. 2 Ibid., 398. 

VOL. I. — li 


The half -century that followed 1648 did but little 
to restore prosperity or repose to Germany. The 
western provinces especially were the scene of fre- 
quently renewed warfare. The territorial ambi- 
tions of Louis XIV. were directed to the German 
lands which lay on the eastern border of France, and 
there was no strength in the empire to resist his ag- 
gressions or to make him fear either defeat or re- 
prisals. Even the European coalitions which forced 
upon him successive treaties did not prevent re- 
newed attacks or heal the scars of the repeated de- 
vastations of the lower and the upper Rhine coun- 
try. The culmination of this period. of suffering 
was the terrible ravaging of the Palatinate, in 1688, 
when the fertile region about Heidelberg, Mannheim, 
Speyer, and Worms was harried and burned and 
pillaged by the soldiers of Louis, with the same 
brutality and more destructiveness than the wild 
Swedish and mercenary armies of the Thirty Years' 
War had used. 

A people with an experience such as that of the 
Germans in the seventeenth century was thence- 
forth easily drawn away from home. One genera- 
tion of continuous warfare throughout all Germany, 
followed by another generation of intermittent 
invasion from France, and closed by a crisis of 
rapine and devastation, made hundreds of thou- 
sands of the German people homeless, despair- 
ing, and eager for escape. It was this situation of 
the people, combined with the religious condition 


before described, that made Germany the best re- 
cruiting-ground for American colonists to be found 
in Europe. Before the close of the seventeenth 
century a stream of emigration set from Germany 
towards America which furnished to Pennsylvania 
one-third of her pre- Revolutionary inhabitants, and 
made a considerable part of the population of several 
of the other colonies. 

A second effect of the Thirty Years' War was the 
practical dissolution of the empire and the loss by 
the emperor of all centralized control over its pol- 
icy. This was a cumulative result of the war rather 
than a definite provision of the peace. The princes, 
nobles, and cities had so frequently allied them- 
selves with foreign states against the emperor and 
against one another, their policy had been so con- 
stantly regulated by their own interests alone, in 
entire disregard of those of the nation at large, and 
the religious divisions had been settled on such a 
sectional basis, that there was now no thought of 
derogating from their independence for the sake of 
the central power of Germany. By Article VIII. of 
the treaty of peace all German states were definite- 
ly permitted to form independent alliances among 
themselves and with foreign states, so long as these 
were not directed against either the emperor or the 
empire.^ As a matter of fact, the bond of union 
among the states of Germany had become so weak 
as to be almost non-existent. The emperor was the 
^ Lamprecht, Deutsche QeseHghte, V., | 2, pp. 765, 76$, 


actual ruler of the Hapsburg dominions and the 
nominal head of the empire; but Germany was a 
geographical rather than a national expression, and 
its head could play no part as a national ruler out- 
side of his immediate hereditary dominions. 

Germany had many interests in America. Martin 
Behaim, Regiomontanus, and other German scien- 
tists contributed largely to the development of the 
science of navigation during the period of dis- 
covery ; Waldseemiiller suggested the name that has 
been universally accepted for the New World; the 
nimierous printing-presses of Germany did much to 
make known to Europe the history of the ex- 
ploration and early conquests and the wonders of 
the Indies ; under Charles V. the empire was brought 
closely into connection with Spain, the greatest 
colonizing power of the seventeenth century; her 
Fuggers, Welsers, and other capitalists provided 
much of the means for the early Spanish voyages, 
and for a time held extensive grants in Venezuela 
under the Spanish crown; and her teeming emi- 
grants furnished a large part of the colonial pop- 
ulation. Yet Germany as a nation has, of all the 
nations of Europe, exercised the least influence on 
the fortunes of America. Neither the emperor nor 
any German prince has ever exercised any direct 
or indirect power over any American territory. 
Many causes may have contributed to this failure, 
but the most effective was doubtless the Thirty 
Years' War. The religious disunion, the material 


impoverishment, and the political insignificance 
which this war caused, during the most important 
colonizing century, excluded Germany as a nation 
from a role among the European powers which have 
held control over parts of the New World. 



ENGLAND passed through the crisis of the Ref- 
ormation without a civil war, yet no coun- 
try of Europe found greater difficulty in coming to 
a religious equilibrium after that change. Though 
actual rebellion was nipped in the bud wherever it 
appeared, as in the Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536 and 
in the Rising of the North of 1569, yet between 
those years, and long after the second rising, religious 
passions were embittered to the very verge of out- 
break. In the early period of the Reformation 
changes were rapid and violent, and during more 
than a century and a half after Protestantism was 
established hostile legislation imposed heavy bur- 
dens upon all those who differed from the dominant 
party in religious faith. 

When England became a colonizing country at 
the opening of the seventeenth century, the effect of 
the religious changes up to that time had been to 
produce four well-marked religious parties among 
her people — Churchmen, Catholics, Puritans, and 
Independents. First in order came the adherents of 



the established church, a church which was in a very 
real sense the creation of Queen EHzabeth and of 
her times — for all that had gone before was unstable 
and tentative, and might readily have been altered 
by a ruler of different character or policy. When 
Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558 the great body 
of the people of England, from a religious point of 
view, was still a fluid mass, a sea accustomed to be 
drawn, like the tide, by the planet that ruled the 
sky, whether an Erastian Henry VIII., a Catholic 
Mary, or a Protestant Protector Somerset. 

Elizabeth declared at her accession that she would 
not allow her people to swerve to the right hand or 
the left from the religion established by law ; and in 
the main she succeeded in carrying out this policy. 
The prayer-book, the articles of religion, the su- 
premacy of the queen, the uniformity of service, the 
practices and doctrines of the official English church 
during the long reign of Elizabeth, meant something 
very definite and made the established church an 
objective reality. Of course she learned, as other 
sovereigns have learned, that even the will of a 
king may break against the rock of religious convic- 
tion ; and large numbers of the people of England 
during her reign remained, or became, dissatisfied 
with the established church. 

Nevertheless, when Elizabeth died Anglicanism 
was the national church in a sense in which it had 
not been before, and in exactly the same sense as 
that in which the Roman Catholic church was the 


church of Spain. A generation had grown up 
which had seen no other rehgious system in au- 
thority, whose beHefs and duties were taught them 
by its clergy, and whose sentiments and devotion 
naturally gathered around it as their object. This 
religious system, therefore, was strongly intrenched: 
it had all the authoritativeness of law, all the sanc- 
tion of patriotic feeling in a period of intense patriot- 
ism, and the support of much sound learning; be- 
sides, the church was fast becoming hallowed by 
tradition and beautified to the imagination by sen- 
timent. Yet for various reasons the Anglican 
church failed to obtain the allegiance of the whole 
English nation. 

The second of the four great religious classes, the 
Catholics, held allegiance to a still older and more 
imposing organization. However clear the argu- 
ment of English churchmen that the Anglican 
body was the church founded by the apostles 
and enduring continuously in England through 
all the intervening centuries, the ''old church" 
was still to many the church of which the pope 
was the earthly head. From the time that Henry 
VI n. attacked the supremacy of the pope and 
many of the characteristic doctrines and practices 
of the mediasval church, a party separate from the 
national church came into being, which climg faith- 
fully to that system. 

The existence of the English Roman Catholics 
as a separate body from the established English 


church may be considered to date from the res- 
ignation of Sir Thomas More from the chancellor- 
ship in 1532. During the remainder of Henry's 
reign their position was equivocal and dangerous, 
a number of conspicuous Catholics accepting martyr- 
dom under the laws against treason, when brought to 
the test of the acceptance or rejection of the king's 
claim to the headship of the English church. Under 
the enlightened rule of Somerset they were not 
persecuted; but under his successor, and under the 
personal rule of Edward VI., they fared much 
worse.^ The time of consolation came under Queen 
Mary, when for a space of five years (15 53-1 5 5 8) 
the English church and English Catholicism again 
became identical. 

Elizabeth on her accession had no antagonism to 
the Roman Catholics as such. Neither in doctrine 
nor in ceremonial was there any essential breach 
between Elizabeth and the Catholic church ; and for 
a moment the world watched to see what her deci- 
sion would be.^ Yet the nature of her position 
dictated to her a return to the ecclesiastical position 
of her father, and an acquiescence in the main results 
of the Protestant development under Edward VI. 
She accepted the requirements of the policy readily 
enough, and by the Acts of Supremacy and Uniform- 

^ Pollard, England Under Protector Somerset, 110-120, 258- 
264, 322. 

- Maitland, " Defender of the Faith " {Eng. Hist. Review, XV., 


ity of 1559^ the English Catholics again became a 
proscribed body, living in disobedience to the law, 
subject to severe pains and penalties for any speech 
or action against the established church, and even 
for the negative offence of absence from its religious 

The disabilities of the Catholics according to the 
laws passed at the opening of the reign of EHzabeth 
were as follows: i. No Catholic could hold any 
office or employment under the crown, or any eccle- 
siastical office in England, or receive any university 
degree : for all such persons were required to take an 
oath renouiicing the authority of the pope, and ac- 
knowledging the headship of the queen in ecclesias- 
tical matters.^ 2. No Catholic could attend mass: 
the service of the pra^^er-book being required at all 
meetings for worship in England.^ 3. No Catholic 
could remain away from the regular services of the 
established church: as the law required that "all 
and every person and persons inhabiting within the 
realm or any other the queen's majesty's dominions 
shall diligently and faithfully, having no la^^rful or 
reasonable excuse to be absent, endeavor themselves 
to resort to their parish church or chapel accustomed 
. . . upon every Sunday and other days ordained and 
used to be kept as holy days, and then and there to 
abide orderly and soberly during the time of the 
common prayer, preachings, or other service of 

* I Eliz., chaps, i., ii. ^ Ibid., chap, ii., §§ 19-25. 
^ Ibid., chap, ii., §§ 3-8. 


God there to be used and ministered." ^ 4. No 
Catholic could speak, write, or circulate any argu- 
ments or appeals in favor of the ecclesiastical claims 
of the Catholic church or in derogation of the royal 
supremacy or of the prayer-book. 

The penalties for violation of these laws varied 
from a fine of one shilling for absence from church 
on a Simday or holy day to the terrible customary 
punishment for treason in the case of repeated con- 
viction for supporting the claims of the pope. These 
fundamental disabilities remained in existence dur- 
ing the whole of the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies. They were added to from time to time 
as the religious conflict in England, and in Europe 
at large, became more embittered ; although, on the 
other hand, there were occasional periods when the 
exigencies of policy or the sympathies of the 
sovereign temporarily suspended their enforcement. 
They remained the fundamental law long after the 
Act of Toleration of 1689 made easy the burdens of 
other Nonconformists, and until the gradual prog- 
ress of enlightenment in the eighteenth century led 
to a willing neglect to enforce them ; and they disap- 
peared only in 1829. 

The tendency during the reign of Elizabeth was 
constantly towards an increase in the severity of 
the laws against "popish recusants," as those who 
refused to conform to the established church were 
called, and to greater rigor in their application. At 

* I Eliz., chap, ii., § 14. 


four successive periods during that reign additions 
were made to the disabiHties and sufferings imposed 
by law upon Roman Catholics. 

1. An act of 1563 extended the lines of restriction 
so that the oath of supremacy must be taken b}'- a 
much greater number of officials — ^by all school- 
masters, lawyers, and petty officers of court, and by 
all members of the House of Commons; and so that 
the first refusal of any person to take it, as well as 
the first occasion on which any one should in waiting 
or speech support the claims of the pope, should be 
pimished by confiscation and outlawry, the second 
offence by the penalties of treason.^ 

2. The difficulties of the Catholics were increased 
by the coming, in 1568, of Mary Queen of Scots to 
England, where she became a permanent centre of 
Catholic disaffection and hopes ; by the Rebellion of 
the North in 1569; and by the papal bull of deposi- 
tion of the queen in 1570. The laws at once re- 
flected the anger and alarm of Parliament and min- 
isters, and their care "for the surety and preserva- 
tion of the queen's most ro^T-al person, in whom 
consisteth all the happiness and comfort of the whole 
state and subjects of the realm." ^ From 1571 to 
1575 four new treason laws,^ directed against sympa- 
thizers with Mary and bringers of bulls from Rome, 
recall the savage legislation of Henry VIII. under 
somewhat similar circumstances. 

^ 5 Eliz., chap. i. ' 13 Eliz., chap, i., § i. 

^ Ihid., chaps, i., ii.; 14 EHz., chaps, i., ii. 


3. A third series of additions to the anti-CathoHc 
code was called out by the efforts of the Jesuits, from 
1579 onward, to reconquer the heretical nations and 
especially England, for the church. Hence, in 1581, 
the mere attempt to convert any subject of the 
queen to Roman Catholicism, as well as the accept- 
ance of such reconciliation with the church, was 
made treason; the saying or hearing of the mass 
was forbidden -under penalty of hesLvy fine and long 
imprisonment; recusants who were absent from 
church a month at a time were fined £20 a month 
for the length of time for which they stayed 
away;^ and by a later law the crown was allowed, 
in case of recusancy, instead of the fine, to seize 
two-thirds of the property of the offender.^ 

Certain offences which Catholics might be espe- 
cially expected to commit, such as "by setting or 
erecting any figure or by casting of nativities or by 
calculations or by any prophesying, witchcraft, 
conjuration, or other like unlawful means whatso- 
ever, seek to know, and shall set forth by express 
words, deeds, or writings how long her majesty shall 
live, or who shall reign king or queen of this realm 
of England after her highness's decease," were made 
punishable by death and confiscation of goods. In 
1585 all Jesuits and Catholic priests trained abroad 
were banished on pain of death, and all English 
subjects studying abroad in one of those Jesuit 
schools, which had already become famous as the 

* 23 Eliz., chap. i. ^ Ibid., chap. ii. 


best schools in Christendom, were required to re- 
turn to England immediately and take the oath of 
supremacy or sufEer the penalties of treason. 

4. Within the next few years came the execution 
of ]\Iary, the war with Spam, the defeat of the Ar- 
mada, and the definite passing of the crisis of Eliza- 
beth's reign. Nevertheless, the year 1593 was mark- 
ed by an "act against popish recusants," which re- 
quired all English Catholics to remain within five 
miles of their homes, and provided for a still closer 
search for Jesuits and priests/ 

Thus an augmenting body of oppressive law, in 
addition to their fundamental disabilities, burdened 
the English Catholics at the accession of James I. 
in 1603. That event they may well have looked 
forward to and welcomed with joy. James was the 
son of J\Iary of Scotland, for whom many of them 
had made such deep personal sacrifices and on whose 
account all had been made to suffer. He was known 
to be a maji of moderate spirit, easy good-nature, 
and philosophic breadth of mind. Circumstances, 
by relieving England from the fear of invasion from 
Spain, and by establishing the Protestant succes- 
sion, might be considered to have left the way open 
for the admission of a more generous and tolerant 
treatment of the Catholic minority. The king con- 
trolled the enforcement or the non -enforcement of 
the law; his word could put the machinery of the 
courts, high and low, into motion for purposes of per- 
^ 35 Eliz., chap. ii. 


secution ; or, on the other hand, could open the prison 
doors to those already incarcerated, and restrain the 
indictment of those amenable to the law. James 
might fairly be expected to have the will, as he un- 
doubtedly had the power, to treat the Catholics with 
greater leniency. 

On the other hand, parliamentary and popular 
antagonism to the Roman Catholics had to be con- 
tended with. Notwithstanding the legal suprem- 
acy and complete predominance of the Anglican 
church, there was still a wide - spread fear of the 
"usurped power and jurisdiction of the bishop of 
Rome"; and much patriotic hatred of the Catholic 
enemies of England and of their sympathizers with- 
in the realm. This national sentiment was strongly 
reinforced by the fanatical Puritan fervor of oppo- 
sition to ''the devilish positions and doctrines 
whereon popery is built and taught." The Gun- 
powder Plot of 1605, in which Catesby, Guy Fawkes, 
and other Catholic conspirators showed themselves 
ready to sacrifice the king, his family, his ministers, 
and members of Parliament, filled James for a while 
with fears for his own safety. If James, therefore, 
should favor the Catholics he must do so in oppo- 
sition to the overwhelming public opinion of the 
people of England and to his own timidity. What 
would be his policy ? Would the persecuted minor- 
ity be taken under the protection of the crown? 
Or would their position remain as it had been for 
half a century, or even be made worse ? 


Upon the answer to this question depended the 
happiness or unhappiness of the Catholics in Eng- 
land and the likelihood or unlikelihood that many 
of them would emigrate. Should their position be- 
come intolerable, those who could would either take 
refuge in one of the Catholic states of the continent 
or find an asylimi in those boundless lands claimed 
by England across the sea. The minds of men 
through all Europe were turning towards Amer- 
ica, not only as a sphere for trade and a base for the 
fighting out of Old -World quarrels,* but as a place 
of settlement for men who could not conform to 
their Old-World religious surroundings. 

Before the reign of James was over Sir George 
Calvert obtained a charter for Avalon, in Newfound- 
land, the ambiguity of whose terms made it possi- 
ble to take Catholic priests and settlers there; and 
in 1632 he received in exchange for this a charter for 
Maryland, under which Catholics held all official 
positions and Jesuit missionaries carried on their 
work. The British island of Montserrat, in the 
West Indies, appears to have been settled in 1634 
by Catholic refugees from Virginia;^ and there were 
other floating proposals to colonize English and 
Irish Catholics in America.^ It was evidently 
quite within the bounds of possibility that Catholic 

^ Zuniga to the king of Spain, December 24, 1606, and Sep- 
tember 22, 1607, in Brown, Genesis of the United States, I., 88-90, 

^ Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 261, n. 9. 

' Cal. of State Pap., 1628, p. 95. 


colonies should be established in those "other your 
highness's dominions," from which the House of 
Commons in 1623 especially petitioned that Ro- 
manists should be excluded/ 

As a matter of fact, the policy of James and of his 
son and successor Charles towards the Catholics 
had little consistency, and shows an alternation of 
leniency and increased severity, reflecting the vary- 
ing inclinations of the king and the changing exi- 
gencies of external and internal politics. During the 
first two years of his reign James lightened their 
burdens, in accordance with the promises of his 
first speech in Parliament, **so much as time, occa- 
sion, or law should permit." ^ The Gunpowder Plot 
then thoroughly frightened and angered the king 
and justified the House of Commons in its protests 
against leniency to the Catholics. In 1606 two 
long detailed statutes^ were enacted, carrying much 
further in prmciple the persecuting provisions of 
the law under Elizabeth, increasing the burdens 
upon the conscience, the purse, and the liberty of 
Catholics, and specifying the most minute arrange- 
ments for the enforcement of the law and the dis- 
covery of those who were secretly Romanists. 

Before many years a change came, due princi- 
pally to the interest of James in the scheme of ob- 
taining a Spanish bride for his son, and to his in- 

* Rushworth, Historical Collections, I., 141. 

2 Prothero, Statutes and Constitutional Documents, 284. 

' 3 and 4 James I., chaps, iv., v. 

VOL. I. — 16 


creasing subservienc}^ to Gondomar, the shrewd 
Spanish minister. The king of Spain would not 
listen to any negotiations for the hand of his sister, 
•unless the persecution of his co-religionists in Eng- 
land was stopped; ard James, in order to carry out 
his foreign policy, blinded by his admiration for 
the Spaniard, and always prone to follow the line of 
least resistance, promised what he certainly could 
not perform, the parliamentary repeal of the anti- 
Catholic laws. 

Nevertheless, he performed what he could, and 
ordered the suspension of their enforcement. In 
1622 the lord keeper of the privy seal wrote to 
the judges that ''it is his majesty's pleasure that 
they make no niceness or difficulty to extend the 
princely favor to all such as they shall find prisoners 
in the jails of their circuits for any church recusancy 
or refusing the oath of supremacy or dispensing of 
popish books, or any other point of recusancy that 
shall concern religion only and not matters of state." * 
A vast number of Catholics were, in this year, re- 
leased on bail or freed completely from prosecution. 
When the Spanish marriage negotiations failed, just 
before the close of the reign of James, Parliament 
again petitioned the king to enforce the old penal 
laws, at last with success ; and a momentary wave 
of severity towards the Catholics spread over Eng- 

Spain was not the only Catholic country with 
* Rushworth, Historical Collections, I., 63. 


which England was in negotiation. The marriage 
of Charles with Henrietta Maria of France followed 
close upon his accession to the throne. The condi- 
tions of the marriage treaty called for greater leni- 
ency to the Catholics, and the influence of the queen 
secured it, though not in the degree promised. Yet 
on the whole the attitude of the crown and of the 
judges during the period from 1625 to 1640 was 
favorable to the Catholics; and although Laud was 
not plotting to hand over the English church to 
Rome, as was the popular belief, he was too sym- 
pathetic with the spirit of Roman Catholicism to 
put into force the savage laws against it which were 
upon the statute-book. 

In 1640 Laud fell, the hand of the king was re- 
moved from the helm, and the domination of the 
Long Parliament and the protectorate for the next 
twenty years meant the bitter persecution of the 
Catholics; while the Restoration, in 1660, saw a par- 
tial toleration of them, preparatory to the Declara- 
tion of Indulgence and the active efforts of James II. 
in their favor twenty-five years later. 

Through all this succession of alternately rig- 
orous and lenient applications of the harsh laws of 
the statute-book, as a matter of fact few Catholics 
left England, and no American colony remained for 
any considerable length of time a Catholic commu- 
nity. The reasons for this result are not hard to find. 
In the first place, it may well be questioned whether 
the position of the Catholics in England was ever so 


bad as one would expect to find it from reading the 
laws and parliamentary proceedings. In all Tudor 
and Stuart legislation there was a wide chasm be- 
tween the passage of the law and its enforcement; 
the statute-book is loaded with laws that were never 
carried out, or were put into force only to the most 
limited extent. The laws against the Catholics cer- 
tainly remained largely unenforced. 

Secondly, the English Catholics were never with- 
out hope of an amelioration of their state at home. 
The most natural time for a great Catholic exodus 
was in the later years of the reign of James I. and the 
early years of Charles L, when the foundations alike 
of Virginia and New England were being laid, and 
when Maryland was offering a basis on which either 
a Catholic or a Protestant community might pre- 
sumably have been built up; but this was just the 
period when the influence of the crown was most con- 
sistently used in favor of the Catholics at home. 
They might fairly hope that a better day was dawn- 
ing for them, when the powerful interposition of 
Spain and France was willingly accepted by James 
and Charles in their favor. The special time when 
emigration seemed most practicable was also the 
time when the occasion for it was least. 

Again, it is to be noted that no American colony 
ever reached the position in which it could provide 
a positively secure refuge to Catholics. Maryland 
wavered from toleration to Catholicism, then to Ang- 
licanism and to Puritanism, and then back to tol- 


eration ; but never at any time was it a Catholic set- 
tlement in the sense in which Massachusetts be- 
longed to the Puritans or Pennsylvania was the 
special home of the Quakers. English Catholics, 
hesitating between emigration and the further en- 
durance of their ills at home, would feel no irresist- 
ible attraction in the dubious toleration of any of 
the colonies.* 

Lastly, it is to be noticed that the great propor- 
tion of the English Catholics were not of the emi- 
grating classes. Many of them were of the nobility 
and gentry, and therefore not of the ordinary stuff 
of which colonists were made. It is quite possible 
that the same conservative tendencies which held 
them to the old church held them to their old homes. 
If they had been as easily detached from their na- 
tive soil as the Puritans and Quakers, one cannot 
doubt that some great migration comparable to that 
of those two bodies would have taken place. 

* Tyler, England in America, chaps, vii., viii. 



THE multitude of Englishmen other than Cath- 
olics, who, at the opening of the seventeenth 
century, were dissatisfied with the church of England 
as by law established, may be grouped under the 
general name of Puritans; although as time passed 
on various newly organized religious bodies formed 
themselves from among them, so that two more 
religious classes, at least, have to be differentiated. 
The roots of Puritanism are to be found in the 
characteristics of human temperament. Conserva- 
tives and radicals will always exist ; the Puritans were 
those who carried or tried to carry the principles and 
ideas of the Reformation to their logical and rigor- 
ous conclusion. Such men as Latimer, Cranmer, 
and many of the theologians of the reign of Edward 
VI., were already steadily approaching the funda- 
mental position of the Puritans, as their thought 
developed, long before the foreign influence of the 
reign of Queen Mary became effective and the modi- 
fied Protestantism of Elizabeth was introduced. 
If the government had kept its hands off , England 


1558] PURITANS 217 

would have divided into two camps, that of the 
CathoHcs and that of a Puritanically reformed 
church. The Anglican system was an artificial one, 
a compromise established under the influence of the 
crown and kept in power by royal determination till 
it eventually won the devotion, the loyalty, or at 
least the deliberate acceptance of the great body of 
moderate and conservative Englishmen. Catholics 
and Puritans were the logical opposites, and not 
Catholics and Anglicans, nor yet Anglicans and 

Yet in a more immediate sense Mary gave occa- 
sion to the rise of Puritanism by driving into ban- 
ishment many of the more devout Protestants of her 
day. At Frankfort, Strasburg, Basel, Zurich, and 
Geneva groups of these English exiles gathered, 
formed congregations worshipping together; devel- 
oped, apart from the restrictions of government, the 
logical tendencies of their religious ideas; and in 
many cases came under the powerful influence of 
continental reformers. Especially at Frankfort * and 
at Geneva was the religious life of these Protestant 
commimities at white heat ; and controversies were 
then begun and principles adopted which dominated 
all the later life of these Englishmen, and were hand- 
ed down to their successors in England and America 
as party cries through more than a century. When 
the ordeal of Mary's reign was over, the exiled for 
conscience' sake returned to England, but they 

^ Hinds, The England of Elizabeth, 12-67. 


formed already a body divergent from the church 
as it was then established. 

During Elizabeth's reign three stages of the devel- 
opment of Puritanism gave occasion for correspond- 
ing conflicts with the crown and for making more 
clear the differences between Anglican and Puritan. 
During the first decade of the reign, Puritanism 
meant a protest against certain of the ceremonies 
and formulas and vestments required of clergymen 
by the law. The sign of the cross on the child's 
forehead in baptism, the celebration of saints' days, 
insistence on kneeling to receive the communion, 
the use of church organs, the changing of robes 
during the service, and even the wearing of a sur- 
plice or a square cap, were to many earnest souls 
survivals of "popery" and temptations to supersti- 
tion. The clergy who held such beliefs tried by 
resolutions in convocation to change the practices 
of the church : but notwithstanding the large votes 
in their favor they were still in the minority and 
were defeated.^ 

Then individual ministers began to disregard the 
law, and either to neglect the use of certain require- 
ments of the prayer-book altogether or to change the 
forms there laid down. The archbishop and the 
Court of High Commission issued detailed instruc- 
tions insisting on observance of the authorized form 
of worship;^ but the ministers declared that they 

* Strype, Annals, I., 500-505. 

' Prothero, Statutes cmd Constitutional Documents, 191-194. 

1572] PURITANS 219 

owed obedience to God rather than to man, and 
either resigned their pastorates or, encouraged by 
their congregations, continued to disobey the law 
and the archiepiscopal injunctions. It was at this 
time and in this connection that the word " Puritan " 
came into use, as a term of reproach for those who 
insisted on an ultra-pure ritual, purged from all 
traces of the old religion. ''Puritan" was used as 
*' Pharisee" might have been.^ 

From 1570 onward Puritanism entered upon a 
second stage, in the form of a contest for changes 
in the organization of the established church. In 
the main the same men who were dissatisfied with 
the liturgy of the church began to oppose the sys- 
tem of its government by bishops and archbishops.^ 
The "Admonition to Parliament" of 1572 declares 
that ''as the names of archbishops, archdeacons, 
lord bishops, chancellors, etc., are drawn out of the 
pope's shop, together with their offices, so the gov- 
ernment which they use ... is anti-Christian and 
devilish and contrary to the Scriptures. And as 
safely may we, by the warrant of God's words, sub- 
scribe to allow the dominion of the pope tmi- 
versally to rule over the word of God as an arch- 
bishop over a whole province or a lord bishop over 
a diocese which containeth many shires and parishes. 
For the dominion that they exercise ... is un- 

* Camden, Annals, year 1568. 

' Letter from Sampson, formerly dean of Christ Church, to 
Lord Burleigh, March 8, 1574, in Strype, Annals, III., 373. 


lawful and expressly forbidden by the word of 

The greater number of those who attacked the 
episcopal organization of the church advocated the 
system of Presbyterianism which had been exten- 
sively adopted on the Continent and recently in- 
troduced into Scotland by the Book of Discipline. 
November 20, 1572, was erected at Wandsworth, 
in Surrey, the first presbytery in England;^ from 
this time forward presbyteries were established here 
and there by groups of neighboring parishes. Some 
ten or fifteen years later the larger group, known as 
the "classis," was introduced; provincial and na- 
tional "synods" were contemplated by many of the 
Puritan clergy; and the English church bade fair to 
be reorganized on Presbyterian lines, without the 
authority of the law. 

This action met the stem opposition of the queen 
and the Court of High Commission. In 1583 Eliza- 
beth appointed Whitgift archbishop of Canterbury, 
and under him the law was enforced with rigor. 
Individual clergymen were deposed or forced to con- 
form; the devotional practices called "exercises," 
on which Puritanism throve, were forbidden; and 
although the contest continued, the introduction of 
Presbyterianism was held in check. 

The latter years of Elizabeth's reign saw Puritan- 

^ Prothero, Statutes and Constitutional Documents , 199. 
2 Bancroft, Dangerous Positions, chap, i., quoted in Prothero, 
Statutes and Constitutional Documents, 247. 

1583] PURITANS 221 

ism within the church taking on a new activity, by 
turning from questions of ceremony and church gov- 
ernment to questions of morals. The Puritans al- 
ways stood for greater earnestness and for the abo- 
lition of abuses in the church, but as time passed on 
they brought into greater prominence the ascetic 
ideal of life ; the strict keeping of the Sabbath bor- 
rowed from the Jewish ritual became customary;^ 
prevailing immoralities and extravagances were 
more bitterly reprobated in books, sermons, and 
parliamentary statutes; and Puritanism took on 
that unlovely aspect of exaggerated austerity which 
characterized its most conspicuous manifestations 
in the seventeenth century. 

The great body of men of Puritan tendencies, both 
clergymen and laymen, were deeply interested in 
reforming the church of England in liturgy, in or- 
ganization, and in practices ; but they had no wish or 
intention to break it up, to divide it into different 
bodies, or to withdraw individually from its mem- 
bership. They were as completely dominated by 
the ideal of a single united national church, one in 
doctrine, organization, and form of worship, as was 
the queen herself. Nevertheless, a group of men 
arose among them, under the general name of Inde- 
pendents, to whom the very idea of a national 
church seemed idolatrous ; who found in the Script- 
ures, or were driven by the logic of their posi- 
tion, to one plan of church government only — the 

* Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 123-132. 


absolute independence of each congregation of 
Christian believers. They looked back to the little 
groups of chosen believers in Syria and Asia Minor, 
the shadowy outlines of whose organization are 
found in the New Testament ; their imagination gave 
definite shape and their reverence for the Scriptures 
gave divine authority to these as examples. Ac- 
cording to the analogy of biblical times, they looked 
upon themselves as a remnant of saints, sacred and 
set apart from a wicked and persecuting world. 

Some of these extreme Puritans were under the 
influence of Robert Browne, a zealous advocate, 
whose activity lay principally between 15 81 and 
1586. Others came under the somewhat more sys- 
tematic teachings of Barrow and Greenwood. Thus 
it became a fundamental principle of several thou- 
sand persons, between 1580 and 1600, to separate 
themselves from the established church. They 
are, therefore, known as " Separatists," though the}?" 
were more comimonly called at that time, as a 
term of reproach, by the names of their leaders, 
" Brownists" or " Barrowists." They met in "con- 
venticles," and even strove to form more perma- 
nent congregations by gathering in secret places, 
or sometimes openly, in defiance of the authorities. 
A churchman of the time says that they teach 
"that the worship of the English church is flat 
idolatry; that we admit into our church persons 
unsanctified; that our preachers have no lawful 
calling ; that our government is ungodly ; that no 

i6o3] PURITANS 223 

bishop or preacher preacheth Christ sincerely and 
truly; that the people of every parish ought to 
choose their bishop, and that every elder, though 
he be no doctor nor pastor, is a bishop." ^ 

In times when church and state were one, such 
teaching could not be endured. If the Puritans 
were scourged with whips the Separatists were lashed 
with scorpions. Their teachers were silenced and 
imprisoned, and Barrow and Greenwood were, in 
1587, hanged at Tyburn. Their congregations were 
broken up and attendants at their conventicles were 
fined, deprived of their property, and thrown into 
prison, where they died by the score. Before Eliz- 
abeth's reign was over, the Separatists had gone into 
exile or become but a persecuted remnant, so far, at 
least, as outward manifestation extended; though 
one can scarcely doubt that among Puritans gener- 
ally, and even, perhaps, among those who still ad- 
hered to the established church, were many who 
shared their convictions. It is to be remembered 
that the Independents and all the new sects which 
were formed in England later in the seventeenth 
century, as well as the Puritans of New England, 
organized themselves on the basis of independent 
congregations of Christian believers. 

The close of the sixteenth century saw the contrast 
between the Anglican churchman on the one hand 
and the Puritan and Separatist on the other becom- 

^ Paule, Life of Whitgift (16 12), 43, quoted in Prothero, 
Statutes and Constitutional Documents, 223. 


ing more harsh, their incompatibility more evident. 
Fifty years earHer episcopacy and ceremoniaHsm 
seemed to most AngHcans comparatively unimpor- 
tant in themselves. They rather blamed the Puri- 
tans for making a difficulty about matters indiffer- 
ent, and for opposing the civil authority in things 
pertaining to conscience; but did not quarrel with 
them on religious questions. But a generation of 
disputes, the development of fundamental princi- 
ples, the need for justification of a position already 
taken, drove both parties into a more dogmatic 
attitude. The high -church party in the estab- 
lished church now began to assert the divine ap- 
pointment of the episcopal office, to lay stress 
on the doctrine of the apostolic succession, and 
gradually to reintroduce much symbolic ceremo- 

The Puritans, on the other hand, were more than 
ever convinced that the system they advanced was 
based upon divine authority ; and that the church as 
it stood was founded upon human regulation only 
and must be forced, if it could not be persuaded, to 
change its system. Still greater clearness was given 
to this division of parties by the theological contest 
that came into existence between 1600 and 1620. The 
Puritans were almost completely Calvinist, and they 
claimed that the established church itself had al- 
ways been so. On the other hand, the Anglican 
leaders of the early seventeenth century were Ar- 
minian, and this form of theological doctrine was as- 

1629] PURITANS 225 

serted by all those who defended the existing organ- 
ization and ceremonial practices of the church/ 

Thus the breach between the Puritan and the 
churchman was now so wide that James L, indolent 
and arrogant for all his toleration and learning, did 
nothing — perhaps could do nothing — towards its 
closing. He said of the Puritans, at the Conference 
at Hampton Court in 1604 : '' I shall make them con- 
form themselves or I will harry them out of this 
land, or else do worse." ^ He disappointed and an- 
gered them, drove them into opposition to his civil 
rule as well as to his church policy, and strength- 
ened their number and their position by his treat- 
ment of Parliament, whose interests and theirs had 
come to be inseparable. 

All the antagonisms, religious and political, of the 
reign of James were intensified in that of Charles I. 
The new king was more autocratic and more unsym- 
pathetic with his subjects ; Parliament was more self- 
assertive and more determined to impose its wishes 
upon king and ministers; the authorities of the es- 
tablished church were more intolerant towards the 
Puritans and milder towards the Catholics. The 
Puritans, on the other hand, were more convinced 
that the Anglican church was retrograding towards 
Catholicism, and more determined to destroy epis- 
copacy if they should ever be able to do so. 

The freest opportunity of the established church 

* Makower, Constitutional History of tlie Church of England, 75. 
' Gardiner, Hist, of England, I., 157. 


to destroy Ptiritanism came during the period of 
the personal government of Charles, from 1629 to 
1640, when Parliament had no meetings, and when 
the Court of Star Chamber, the High Commission, 
and the Privy Council were the all-powerful in- 
struments of an administration sympathetic with 
the high -church party. The oppressions of the 
Puritans were now at their height, and the pros- 
pect of ever obtaining freedom to worship as they 
chose seemed the darkest. With the most promi- 
nent liberal and Puritan leaders imprisoned for their 
political opinions, like Sir John Eliot, or lying in 
prison, crushed under enormous fines, like Prynne; 
with the courts subservient to the royal will; 
with court preachers declaring the duty of passive 
obedience to the government; with Laud guiding 
the policy of the king in all ecclesiastical matters, — 
the state of the Puritans might well seem hopeless, 
and they might well look towards some distant land 
as a place for the establishment of a purified na- 
tional church. 

Archbishop Laud typified and embodied the spirit 
of the dominant church, and in addition he had un- 
wearied energy, industry, and determination. Sin- 
cere, practical, and brave, but narrow-minded and 
unsympathetic, he set about the work of reducing 
the church of England to absolute tmiformity in 
accordance with the law as he interpreted it. The 
Nonconformists had no rest; Puritan clergymen 
must conform; Puritan laymen must suffer under 

i64o] PURITANS 227 

the power of the church, which, dominated by- 
its bishops and wedded to its idols, was becom- 
ing steadily more powerful and all-inclusive. The 
reign of Charles was not marked by the passage 
of harsher laws against the Puritans, but it was 
distinguished from all periods that preceded or 
followed it by the continuous, steady, and thor- 
ough-going application of those already in ex- 

It was under this regime that the great Puritan 
migration to America took place. The Ptiritans 
represented a class of society which was much more 
ready to emigrate than the Catholics. As early as 
1597 some imprisoned Brownists sent a petition to 
the Privy Coimcil asking that they might be al- 
lowed to settle in America; and four men of the 
same persuasion even went on a voyage to examine 
the land.^ In 1608 many Puritans seem to have 
prepared to emigrate to Virginia, when b}^ Arch- 
bishop Bancroft's influence they were forbidden by 
the king to go, except with his express permission 
in each individual case.^ 

The Separatists early became wanderers on the 
face of the earth, a now famous group of them leav- 
ing their English homes for Amsterdam, migrating 
thence to Leyden, and then, after hesitating between 
a Dutch and an English colony and between North 
and South America, a portion settling themselves 

* Eggleston, Begin-ners of a Nation, 167. 

^ Stith, Hist, of Virginia, book II., year 1608. 

VOL. I. — 17 


on Plymouth Harbor.^ In all the history of early 
colonization there have been few such occasions as 
that of the year 1638, when fourteen ships bound 
for New England lay in the Thames at one time, 
and when three thousand settlers reached Boston 
within the same year.^ Almost all the Englishmen 
who were ever to emigrate to New England left 
their homes during the twelve years between 1628 
and 1640. Unfavorable economic conditions at 
home and the prospect of greater prosperity in the 
colony doubtless had their influence; but of the 
more than twenty thousand who passed from the 
old England to New England during that time, it is 
fair to presume that by far the greater number were 
more or less influenced by their Puritan opinions. 

The most decisive proof of this motive for emigra- 
tion is the slacking of the tide of Puritan expa- 
triation after 1640. When Parliament, after eleven 
years of intermission, met in that year at West- 
minster in the full appreciation of its power, one 
of its first actions was to order the impeachment and 
arrest of Archbishop Laud. At last the Puritans 
had their turn, and the assembling of Parliament 
found them no longer a scattered, disorganized, di- 
versified element in the English church and nation ; 
but, thanks to long persecution, a compact body, 
austere in morals, dogmatic in religious belief, ready 

* Griffis, Pilgrims in Their Three Homes. 
2 Authorities quoted in Eggleston, The Beginners of a Nation^ 

1642] PURITANS 229 

to make use of political means for religious ends, 
and determined to impose their asceticism and their 
orthodoxy on the English people so far as they 
might be able/ 

A majority of Parliament, small but sufficient, 
were Puritans, as had probably been true of every 
Parliament for many years, had they been free 
to act. Their intentions showed themselves in a 
prompt inception of reforms in the church, and the 
burdens of official ecclesiastical oppression were 
rapidly transferred to the shoulders of those who 
had previously bound the loads upon Puritan backs. 
In 1 641 orders were issued by the House of Commons 
for the demolition of all images, altars, and crucifixes.^ 
A commission known as the "Committee of Scan- 
dalous Ministers" was appointed, and proceeded to 
discipline the clergy and to harass the universities. 
Demands for the harsher treatment of priests and 
Jesuits were soon followed by plans for the diminu- 
tion of the power of archbishops and bishops of the 
established church. The Court of High Commission 
was abolished July 5, 1641.^ The archbishops and 
bishops were removed from the House of Lords 
and the Privy Council by the act of February 13, 

The Solemn League and Covenant of September 
25, 1643, pledged Parliament and the leaders of the 

* Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 133. 

2 Commons Journals, II., 279. 

^ 16 Chas. I., chap. ii. * Ibid., chap, xxvii. 


now dominant party to extirpate "church govern- 
ment by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and 
commissaries, deans, deans and chapters, arch- 
deacons, and all other ecclesiastical officers depend- 
ing on that hierarchy"; and to reform religion in 
England *'in doctrine, worship, discipline, and gov- 
ernment, according to the word of God and the ex- 
ample of the best reformed churches." ^ 

By this time the quarrel between Charles and 
Parliament had been put to the arbitrament of the 
sword, and the distinction of Cavalier and Round- 
head to a certain extent superseded that between An- 
glican and Puritan. In 1645 came the catastrophe 
of Naseby, then the long series of futile negotiations 
ending in the execution of the king at Whitehall 
in 1649. From the general confusion emerged the 
commonwealth, ''without any king or House of 
Lords," the church organized on Presbyterian lines, 
the spirit of Puritanism dominating, although there 
was toleration for every form of Christian belief, 
" provided this liberty be not extended to popery or 
prelacy." ^ For full twenty years the Anglican 
church was under a cloud, first Presbyterianism and 
then Independency being the official form of the 
church of England. The ill-fortimes of the royalist 
party in the civil war and under the commonwealth, 
and the religious oppression imposed by the Puritans 
upon churchmen, now combined to send to the colo- 

* League and Covenant, §§ i, 2. 
' Instrument of Government, § 37. 

i6s9] PURITANS 231 

nies the very classes which had so recently been the 
persecutors. From 1640 to 1660 Virginia, Mary- 
land, and the Carolinas received an influx of EngHsh 
churchmen escaping from conditions at home as 
intolerable to them as those which drove the Pil- 
grims and Puritans to New England during the pre- 
vious decades. 

The commonwealth was not merely a triumph 
of Puritanism, it was a birth-time of new religious 
sects. The excitement of a period of civil war, the 
breaking down of old standards, the disappearance 
of old authority, the opportunities offered by the 
quasi - democracy of the commonwealth, the pre- 
occupation of the seventeenth - century mind with 
questions of religion, all combined to cause almost 
a complete disintegration of religious organization. 
Here and there a man began to preach religious 
truth and duty as they looked to him; he ob- 
tained adherents, a congregation was organized, 
the tenets of this body spread, and branches 
were formed; till shortly a new religious society 
had come into existence, with its creed, organiza- 
tion, missionary spirit, and more or less vigorous 
hope of converting all men and absorbing all other 
religious organizations. An almost indefinite nimi- 
ber of such religious bodies arose during the mid- 
dle years of the seventeenth century — Millenarians 
or Fifth Monarchy Men, Baptists or Anabaptists, 
Quakers, Ranters, Notionists, Familists, Perfectists, 
and others. Most of them died out within the brief 


period which gave them birth, but some survived 
to become great rehgious denominations, extending 
into America as well as throughout England/ 

Of these the Quakers are the most interesting 
in their relations to the New World. The spirit 
from which they arose was closely similar to that 
which gave birth to the Baptists of England, the 
Anabaptists, Mennonites, Pietists, and Quietists of 
the Continent. Their movement was an extreme 
revolt against the formalism, corporate character, 
and externalit}^ of established religion. It contained 
a deep element of mysticisin. The Quakers de- 
clared all believers, irrespective of learning, sex, or 
official appointment, to be priests.^ They asserted 
the adequacy of the ** inner light" to guide every 
man in his faith and in his actions. They opposed 
all forms and ceremonies, even many of those of 
ordinary courtesy and fashion, such as removing 
the hat or conforming the garb to changing custom. 

George Fox, the representative of these ideas, 
began his pubHc preaching in 1648, and his doctrines 
at once found wide acceptance. In 1652 there were 
said to be twenty - five Quaker preachers passing 
through the country; by 1654 there were sixty, some 
of whom were women, who, by the principles of 
their teachings, should preach as freely as men. 
Their missionary joume3^s led them to Scotland and 
Ireland, and later even to Holland and Germany 

^ Gooch, EnglisJi Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth Century, 
chap. viii. ^ Fox, Letters, No. 249. 

i659] PURITANS 233 

and the far east of Europe. Organization among 
the Quakers proceeded somewhat slowly. This was 
due partly to the individualist character of their 
beliefs, partly to the lack of constructive interest 
on the part of Fox and the other leaders during 
the early period of their missionary work. Never- 
theless, "meetings" were gradually organized, took 
definite shape, and kept up regular communica- 
tion with one another, so that there came to be a 
net- work of such bodies over the whole country. In 
1659 it is estimated that there were thirty thousand 
Quakers in England. 

Notwithstanding the religious liberty guaranteed 
by the Instrument of Government of 1653, the 
teachings and practices of the Quaker preachers 
brought them into much turmoil. Their vituper- 
ation of the clerg}^ their intrusion into church ser- 
vices and ceremonies, already reduced only too fre- 
quently to confusion by the rapid changes of the 
time, their objection to the payment of tithes, their 
refusal to take an oath, their outspoken denuncia- 
tion of all whose actions they disapproved, the 
prominence of women in their propaganda, and, in 
early times, suspicions that they were connected 
with political plots, could not but subject them to 
ridicule, abuse, and actual persecution. They ha- 
bitually violated ntimerous laws on the statute- 
book, ranging from those requiring good order to 
those forbidding what was construed as blasphemy. 
They were, therefore, beaten and stoned by the 


mob; abused, fined, and imprisoned by the magis- 
trates ; ridiculed and prosecuted by the clergy ; sub- 
jected to starvation, exposure, and other hardships 
by sheriffs and jailers/ 

In 1660 Charles 11. was recalled to the throne. 
This event was a restoration of the church even more 
than a restoration of the monarchy. The royal 
power could never again be what it had been before 
the civil war, the execution of a king, and the estab- 
lishment of a republic. But the church, with the 
longevity and recuperative power of all religious 
organizations, arose again to a life apparently as 
vigorous and despotic as in the times of Laud. The 
year 1662 fotmd four thousand two himdred Quak- 
ers in the jails of England f and the popular re- 
action against the austerity of the Puritan regime 
subjected Quakers to much ill-treatment by the 

Yet just at this juncture the dignity of the body 
was strengthened and its power of self-assertion in- 
creased by the adherence to it of men of higher edu- 
cation and social position. The Quakers of the com- 
monwealth period were almost all of the middle and 
lower-middle or trading classes. Soon after the Res- 
toration a number of men of good family and some 
means threw in their fortunes with the persecuted 
sect. One of them, Robert Barclay, reduced to or- 
der and system the scattered and incoherent state- 

* Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers, I., chaps, iii., iv., xi., xviii., 
II., chap, i., etc. ^ Sewel, Hist, of the Quakers, 346. 

i688] PURITANS 235 

merits of its theology. In his Apology, pubHshed in 
1675, he set forth a logical and consistent statement 
of beliefs, couched in clear and graceful language and 
supported by calm reasoning and example.^ Of the 
same class was William Penn, an educated, wealthy, 
polished, and genial English gentleman. Yet he was 
also a serious-minded and devout Quaker preacher, 
missionary, and writer, and as he saw and shared 
in the sufferings of the faithful he might well despair 
of better conditions in England and think of a " Holy 
Experiment" in America, where Quakers from 1675 
onward were settling in West New Jersey.^ 

Under Charles II. the attitude of the king was 
favorable to the Quakers, while in the short reign of 
James II. they had the great advantage of the per- 
sonal friendship of the king for Penn. Yet no mat- 
ter what should be the favor of the king, or even 
their more moderate treatment by the authorities of 
the estabHshed church, Quakers could not hope for 
material comfort or ease of mind in surroundings 
so alien to their ideals as England was in the last 
decades of the seventeenth century. They, still 
more than the Puritans in the time of Laud or 
the churchmen in the time of Cromwell, suffered 
because of the incongruity of the ordinary law and 
custom with their ideals. It was the realization of 

* Thomas, Hist, of the Society of Friends in America, chap, ii., 
200, 201. 

2 Fiske, The Dutch and Quaker Colonies, II., 99, 167; Andrews, 
Colonial Self -Government, chap. vii. 


this incompatibility, along with the attraction of a 
community imder Quaker government, cheap and 
abundant land, a promise of a growing population 
and lucrative business opportunities that set flowing 
to Pennsylvania the tide of Quaker emigration and 
created in a few years a great Quaker common- 
wealth in America. 

Besides Puritans, Anglicans, and Quakers, anoth- 
er great stream of emigration poured into the cen- 
tral colonies of America — the Presbyterian Scotch- 
Irish. To imderstand their coming, it is necessary 
to return to the early years of the seventeenth cen- 
tury and to consider the policy of James I. towards 
rebellious Ireland. At the opening of his reign 
James fotmd in Ireland an opportunity to plant a 
colony near home. ^ When Englishmen and Scotch- 
men had been established in Ireland, the Irish sore 
would be healed, and that restless Cathohc com- 
munity be transformed into an outlying district 
of England. The "Plantation of Ulster" began in 
1 6 1 1 . The titles of the natives were inithlessly for- 
feited, the six counties of the province of Ulster 
were redivided, and the land was regranted to pro- 
prietors who engaged to settle colonists from Eng- 
land and Scotland upon it according to a fixed 

This system was skilfully devised and rigidly car- 
ried out. It required the new land-owners to es- 
tablish freeholders, small tenants, laborers, and 

* Walpole, Kingdom of Ireland, 130-135. 

1689] PURITANS 237 

artisans upon the soil in proportion to the amount 
of land they received, allowing only a certain mini- 
mum number of the Irish natives to be retained as 
laborers. The proprietors were largely merchants 
of London and merchandising noblemen of the court ; 
the tenants they introduced were mostly from the 
towns and country districts of the north of England 
and the lowlands of Scotland. Men of Puritan ten- 
dencies showed the same readiness to emigrate to 
Ireland that they showed soon afterwards as to New 
England, and as a result the settlers of Ulster, dur- 
ing the first two decades of the seventeenth century, 
were almost universally Presbyterians. 

Under these new and somewhat anomalous con- 
ditions a population grew up in the north of Ireland 
which was almost as distinct in race and religious 
organization from the people of England and Scot- 
land as it was from the Catholic and Celtic popula- 
tion which it had displaced. Its religion, without 
being proscribed, was not acknowledged, for AngH- 
canism was the established church of Ireland, 
though it numbered but few adherents. Ulster's in- 
dustrial interests were, from the beginning, subor- 
dinated to those of England, as completely as were 
those of the natives.^ 

As the century progressed the economic evils 
under which the Scotch-Irish suffered became more 
pronounced. The navigation acts were so inter- 

* Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and Commerce, II., 


preted as to exclude Ireland from all their advan- 
tages and to cut her off from any direct trade with 
the colonies. Tobacco-growing was forbidden, and 
the exportation of cattle to England, placed under 
prohibitory duties. The wool manufacture was 
crushed by heavy export taxes, and the linen manu- 
facture neglected or discouraged. In 1642 and again 
in 1689 came war and new conquests of the coimtry, 
to add to its disorganization and chronic sufferings. 
Kidnapping, enforced service in the colonies, and 
traffic in political prisoners were indulged in by the 
government. Ireland, as a dwelling-place for Cath- 
olics or Protestants, for Celts or Saxons, for natives 
or English and Scotch settlers, was a coimtry of 
ever-renewed distress. 

To economic disabilities is to be added religious 
persecution of a mild type, especially after 1689. 
All the laws that interfered with the religious equal- 
ity of the Presbyterians in England were extended 
to Ireland; and they seemed more vexatious there 
because in Ulster the Presbyterians were in the vast 
majority and the established church almost unrep- 
resented, except by tithe collectors and absentee 
landlords. At the close of the seventeenth century 
there were more than a million Ulster Presbyterians. 
But soon, as a result of this combined economic and 
religious oppression, they began to migrate in a 
narrow stream which by 1720 became a wide river. 
They formed the largest body of emigrants that 
left Europe for the American colonies. Before the 

i72o] PURITANS 239 

eighteenth century was over the Presbyterian pop- 
ulation of Ireland was reduced by at least a half ; ^ 
and the missing moiety was to be found scattered 
along the whole line of the Appalachian mountain- 
chain, at the backbone of the English colonies, ex- 
tending eastward and westward and forming a pro- 
lific and influential element of the American people. 

* Fiske, The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, II., 354. 



AN earlier chapter of this work has been devoted 
-Tito the poHtical institutions of Spain, France, 
and the Netherlands, and each had its share of in- 
fluence on American history ; but it is England from 
which the American nation really sprang, of which 
it was for more than a century and a half a depen- 
dency, and to whose traditions, institutions, and 
government we must look back for the origins of our 
own. The oldest political institution in England is 
the monarchy. Older than ParHament, older than 
the law-courts, older than the division of the coun- 
try into shires, the monarchy dates back to the con- 
solidation of the petty Anglo-Saxon states in the 
ninth century — and these were themselves king- 

At no time in this long course of English history 
were the claims of the monarchy more exorbitant than 
under James I. and Charles L, from 1603 to 1642, just 
when the tide of immigration began to flow towards 
America, and when the governments of the colonies 
were being established. "What God hath joined, 



then, let no man separate. I am the husband and 
all the whole isle is my lawful wife. I am the head 
and it is my body. I am the shepherd and it is my 
flock. . . ."^ So King James wove metaphors, 
when he addressed Parliament at its opening in 
1604. When disputes had arisen in 16 10 he de- 
clared: "The state of monarchy is the supremest 
thing upon earth, for kings are not only God's lieu- 
tenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but 
even by God himself they are called gods. ... As to 
dispute what God may do is blasphemy, ... so is it 
sedition in subjects to dispute w^hat a king may do 
in the height of his power." "Encroach not upon 
the prerogative of the crown; if there falls out a 
question that concerns my prerogative or mystery 
of state, deal not with it till you consult with the 
king or his council, or both, for they are transcen- 
dent matters." ^ 

This absolute prerogative of the king was at- 
tributed to him by others, as well as claimed by 
himself. Dr. Cowell, professor of civil law at Cam- 
bridge, declared that the king "is above the law 
by his absolute power" ;^ and Sir Walter Raleigh 
wrote that attempts to bind the king by law jus- 
tified his breach of it, "his charters and other instru- 
ments being no other than the surviving witnesses 
of unconstrained will." * But this definition of the 

* Prothero, Select Statutes, 283. ' lUd,, 293, 294. 

2 Cowell, Interpreter, under word "king." 
*^2ltigh. Prerogative of Parliament, Preface. 


prerogative of the king was an exaggerated descrip- 
tion of his real position in the EngHsh system of 
government, and was either academic or argviment- 
ative. As properly used, absolute monarchy mere- 
ly meant an all-powerful not an autocratic govern- 
ment; government was supreme, but the king was 
not necessarily supreme in the government. As 
government had been developed in England, in the 
course of time it had grown up aroimd the monarchy 
as its centre and found in it its embodiment. 

In Anglo-Saxon England government was crude 
and embryonic, but even then the king held a gen- 
eral oversight over the exercise of its few functions. 
In the later Middle Ages, when government was 
somewhat more highly developed, its more numer- 
ous functions, in so far as they were not performed 
by feudal lords or church officials, were fulfilled by 
the king. It was by the monarchy that the law- 
coiirts were formed and commissioned, that Parlia- 
ment was simimoned and given the opportunity for 
self -development, that the system of taxation and 
of military life was organized. The great advance 
in the organization and effectiveness of govern- 
ment which marked the reigns of the Tudor rulers 
consisted in the elaboration and increased activity 
of the administrative or royal element in the gov- 

The royal prerogative might, therefore, be con- 
ceived of as the function of keeping the machine of 
government running. The king was the director 


and controller of an aggregate of governmental pow- 
ers. All officials were commissioned in his name, 
and those of higher rank were actually selected and 
appointed by him. All foreign intercourse was car- 
ried on in his name, and in the main directed by 
him; Parliament was called, prorogued, and ad- 
journed at his will, and he kept at least a negative 
control over its actions. All justice was exercised in 
his name, and his interests and known wishes some- 
times influenced decisions. All charters, whether 
to cities, to guilds, to possessors of mercantile 
monopolies, or to commercial and colonizing com- 
panies, were issued under his name and seal, and the 
powers granted in them could not be in opposition 
to his will.* 

The powers of the king were, therefore, very real, 
even if the philosophic contentions of James and 
other theorists be disregarded; but they were pow- 
ers restricted in every direction by actual conditions, 
and exercised through ministers whose familiarity 
with precedent, whose control over the details of 
administration, whose dignified offices, and whose 
personal weight of judgment and character made 
them, though nominally servants of the king, a real 
power in the government. 

Much of the royal power was exercised through 
the three great law-courts, King's Bench, Exchequer, 
and Common Pleas; through the courts of equity, 

* Smith, The Commonwealth of England, book I., chap, ix., 
book II., chap. iv. 

VOL. I, — 18 


held by the chancellor, the master of the rolls, and 
the master of requests; through the half -adminis- 
trative, half - judicial bodies, the council of the 
north and the council of the marches of Wales, 
and through the circuit courts of assize. Much was 
exercised through higher and lower administrative 
officers, through the Exchequer, and through lower 
offices such as the wardrobe and the admiralty. 

But the real centre of gravity of the executive 
powers of the government at this time is to be found 
in the Council or Privy Council, two terms which 
are used indiscriminately.^ This body was made up 
of seventeen or eighteen members, including all the 
great ministers of state, the lord chancellor, or, as 
he was sometimes called, lord keeper of the great 
seal, the high treasurer, the two secretaries, the 
great master and the comptroller of the household, 
the chamberlain and the great admiral, besides a 
certain number chosen as members of the Privy 
Coimcil without otherwise occupying office.^ There 
were usually from six to ten members of the council 
present, the membership of some of the ministers 
being somewhat perfunctory. 

As a body, however, its services were as far from 
perfunctory as can well be conceived. Its sessions 
were held almost daily and its sphere of activity 
was apparently coextensive with the life of England 
and of all its dependencies. Scarcely an interest, 

* Dicey, The Privy Council, 80. 

"^ Acts of the Privy Council, 1594-159 7. 


public or private, escapes its attention, whether it 
is the organization of a campaign in France or the 
settlement of a family quarrel between father and 
son;^ whether it is ''Sir John Norreis, knight, and 
Thomas Diggs, esquire," or a Lord Morley, or the 
chief baron of the Court of Exchequer, Lord Man- 
wood, or some merchants or poor artisans or an 
"Elice Gailer, of Berton, yeoman," that appear be- 
fore the council at its summons; whether it is en- 
gaged in formulating rules for articles contraband 
of war, or trying to put an end to illicit coinage on 
the borders of Wales; whether engaged in one or 
other of a hundred different interests, the council 
is always active, intrusive, and high-handed.^ It 
regulated manufactures and trade, protected for- 
eigners, disciplined recusants, kept the oversight of 
customs and other officials, settled disputes between 
colleges and their tenants, bishops, deans, and gov- 
ernment officers, instructed, sheriffs and justices of 
the peace as to their duty, made provision for the 
keeping up of military and naval forces, and per- 
formed other duties so numerous and varied as to 
defy enumeration or classification. 

A special duty of the Privy Cotmcil was to keep up 
correspondence with the officials of outlying dis- 
tricts under the dominion of the crown and not 
within the systematic administration of sheriffs, 
assize courts, justices of the peace, or other regular 

1 Acts of the Privy Council, 1591-1592, pp. 160, 193, 256-258, 
292, 327* 4i4» 476, etc. '^ Ihid., 231, 305, 314, 378, 449, 572. 


governance. These regions included the marches 
of Wales and of Scotland, certain counties of Eng- 
land, Ireland, and the Channel Islands, the last 
two of these having been placed under the direct 
supervision of the Privy Council by statute/ As 
colonies grew up they fell, naturally, under the special 
care of the Privy Council. The duty of hearing ap- 
peals from colonial courts became and is still a duty 
of the coimcil; to the Privy Council were referred 
colonial laws for approval or veto ; and the successive 
bodies formed for the oversight of the colonies, cul- 
minating in the Board of Trade and Plantations of 
1696, were either committees of the Privy Coun- 
cil or boards acting under its control and reporting 
to it. 

Although most of this control over the colonies 
was still far in the future, the power exercised by the 
council over England's nearest dependency, Ireland, 
may fairly be taken as anticipatory of it. Irish mat- 
ters during the later years of Queen Elizabeth and the 
early years of James I. demanded much attention 
and time from the Privy Council, notwithstanding 
the existence of an Irish Parliament, a lord deputy, 
various provincial officials, and the whole frame- 
work of a subordinate government in Ireland. All 
the variety of cases that came before the council 
from England were duplicated from Ireland. In 
fact, Ireland was treated much as if it were an Eng- 
lish county, or better, perhaps, one of those regions 
^ Po3niings's Act (1495), Dicey, The Privy Council, 90. 


of England, like the marches of Wales, which had a 
somewhat peculiar jurisdiction. 

The most important form of oversight of Ireland 
exercised by the Privy Coimcil was that based upon 
" Poynings's Act" of 1495. Sir Edward Poynings, a 
type of that class of vigorous officials of middle rank 
which were such useful instruments of the Tudor 
government, was sent, in 1494, to Ireland as lord 
deputy; the next year he called a parliament at 
Drogheda and obtained its assent to a number of 
statutes designed to introduce order into that dis- 
turbed country, and to make real the power of 
English government by diminishing that of the 
turbulent lords of the Pale/ As a means of reach- 
ing the latter object, the Irish Parliament, which 
had long been tmder their control and which 
had lately made some assertion of its right of in- 
dependent action,^ was to be curbed, and that by 
its own ordinance. 

It was therefore enacted that in the future no 
bill should be introduced into the Irish Parliament 
tmless its heads had first been submitted to the 
English Privy Coimcil and obtained the approval of 
that body and of the king.^ Moreover, this ap- 
proval must be given before Parliament met. This 
reduced the Irish Parliament to a mere registering 
body for royal enactments. In 1556 an explanatory 

^ Moms, Hist, of Ireland, 14Q6-1868, pp. 58-63. 

' Irish Statutes, 37 Henry VI. 

^ Irish Statutes, 10 Henry VII., chap. iv. 


act was passed^ amending Poynings's Act so far as 
to make it allowable for the Irish Parliament to pass 
any bills which had received the approval of the 
crown and of the English Privy Council at any time 
during its session. The regular practice of Irish 
legislation imder these acts was as follows: any 
member of either house of the Irish Parliament 
might bring in heads of a bill, which, if approved by 
both houses, were submitted to the viceroy, who 
referred them to the Irish Pri\'y Council; that body 
sent them, altered or unaltered, to the king, who re- 
ferred them to the English Privy Council ; this body 
then approved, rejected, or modified them; and they 
were returned, through the viceroy, to the Irish Par- 
liament in the form of a bill, to be accepted or re- 
jected as a whole, but not to be further modified.^ 
By this cumbrous method only could the Irish 
Parliament legislate. It was, moreover, subject not 
only to the English Privy Council, but to the English 
Parliament. One of the clauses of Poynings's Act 
had provided that all statutes which up to that time 
had been passed by the English Parliament should 
bind Ireland also.^ Many laws were subsequently 
passed by the English Parliament for Ireland, thus 
ignoring the Irish Parliament; but it was not till 
later than the period we are considering that a 
claim of the superiority of the English Parliament 

* Irish Statutes, 3 and 4 Philip and Mary, chap, iv, 
' Walpole, Kingdom of Ireland, 253, 254. 
^ Irish Statutes, 10 Henry VII., chap. xxii. 


was definitely made. In the eighteenth century a 
member of the Irish Parliament pubHshed a book 
called The Case of Ireland Being Bound by Acts of 
Parliament in England Stated. This was formally 
condemned by the English Parliament and ordered 
to be burned by the common hangman.^ When 
still later the Irish House of Lords protested against 
the reversal of one of its judgments, on appeal, by 
the English House of Lords, the English Parliament, 
in 1720, passed an act depriving the Irish House of 
Lords of any appellate jurisdiction, and declaring 
that '* the English Parliament had, hath, and of 
right ought to have full power and authority to make 
laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to 
bind the people of Ireland"^ — a precedent of por- 
tentous applicability to the American colonies when 
a similar question came up in regard to them a 
half-century later. 

The power of Parliament over external depen- 
dencies was destined to come into greater promi- 
nence in the future. The question at issue at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century was the ex- 
tent of its power over England itself. Was it, like 
the Privy Coimcil, the law-courts, and other such 
bodies, merely a creation and dependency of the 
crown? Or was it, although in form an assembly of 
royal coimcillors, meeting only when the king sum- 
moned it and ceasing to exist when he ordered its 
dissolution, a branch of the government co-ordi- 

* Walpole, Kingdom of Ireland, 252. ^ 6 George I., chap, y. 


nate with or even in certain relations superior to 

In the organization of Parliament there were sev- 
eral grave deficiencies, if it were to be considered an 
independent body. It was a composite assembly of 
two ill-related parts. The House of Lords, which con- 
sisted at this time of some fifty members,^ had an 
existence as a royal council quite apart from the 
House of Commons, and there were still many evi- 
dences that it was the original body and the House 
of Commons a later accretion. In 160 1, when Eliza- 
beth appeared in the House of Lords to open her 
last Parliament, the Commons, who were w^aiting in 
their own chamber, did not hear of her presence 
promptly, and when they hastened to the Lords' 
chamber the door was closed and they could not 
obtain admission, so they "returned back again 
into their own House much discontented."^ The 
Lords had various privileges and constitutional 
rights of their own : as individuals, of trial by peers, 
of being represented by proxies, of entering indi- 
vidual protests, of audience with the sovereign, of 
certain advantages of procedure in the courts of 
common law; as a body, of trying impeachments 
brought by the House of Commons, and of acting as 
a final court of appeal for all lower courts whether 
of law or equity.^ 

^ D'Ewes, Journals, 599. ^ Ibid., 620. 

' Pike, Constitutional History of the House of Lords, chaps, 
ix., xi.-xiv. 


The House of Commons was composed of two 
knights or gentlemen elected for each shire; and 
one or two representatives for each of nearly three 
himdred cities and boroughs. The system of rep- 
resentation was crude and antiquated. The knights 
of the shire were elected by the ''forty-shilling free- 
holders" — that is to say, by all who had a tenure 
approaching ownership in lands whose annual rental 
value reached that sum. This was an electorate 
that reached far down in the social scale, but it was 
limited by the tendency of English land to remain in 
the hands of large owners, and by the influence, 
legitimate and illegitimate, of the gentry, the great 
county noble families, and the crown. The knights 
of the shire, therefore, as a matter of fact, not only 
belonged to, but were elected by and reflected the 
interests and feelings of, the great body of rural 
gentry; while the yeomen exercised little influence 
in Parliament, as the laboring classes certainly 
exercised none at all. 

There were vast differences in the system of elec- 
tion by the towns which were represented in Parlia- 
ment, varying all the way from appointment by pa- 
trons, in some towns, down through divers grades 
of extension of the franchise to an almost universal 
stiflrage in a few. Nevertheless, from the towns, as 
from the counties, it was representatives of the 
upper and middle classes that sat in the Commons. 
There was no approach to equality in the constitu- 
encies represented in the House of Commons ; mem- 


bers were elected often by outside influence and al- 
ways by a narrow constituency, and no control was 
possessed by the electors over their representatives. 

Yet these defects were more apparent than real. 
The special powers of the House of Lords were be- 
coming shadowy, and almost the only real signif- 
icance of the peerage was when it was united with 
the House of Commons and made a part of the 
larger whole of Parliament.^ 

In the House of Commons was the real source of 
power of Parliament. Whatever the imperfections 
in the method of election, whatever the irregularity 
of constituencies, whatever the crudity of the idea 
of representation, the five hundred or more knights, 
country gentlemen, lawyers, and merchants who 
made up the Commons at this time^ were con- 
vinced that in some way they stood for the whole 
nation. When Parliament had been once sum- 
moned and organized, it became a body with three 
hundred years of precedent back of it; and in the 
days of the Stuarts it confronted the king with 
claims to a very different position and power from 
those he was inclined to concede to it. So far from 
assimilating their position to that of the law-courts. 
Privy Council, and other such bodies, at the very 
opening of the reign of James the Commons de- 
clared "there is not the highest standing court in 

* 36 and 37 Henry VIII., f. 60 (Dyer, Reports, pt. i., 327). 
2 Names of Members Returned to Serve in Parliament, pt. i., 


this land that ought to enter into competency either 
for dignity or authority with this high court of 
ParHament which with your Majesty's royal assent 
gives laws to other courts, but from other courts re- 
ceives neither laws nor orders." ^ 

The course of time intensified this difference of 
opinion. ''Set chairs for the ambassadors," James 
cried, mockingly, when the deputies from the House 
of Commons visited him with a petition during the 
dispute of 162 1. To the king Parliament seemed 
to be making a claim to sovereignty against which 
the only proper argument was a jest. Shortly after- 
wards he wrote to the speaker of the House of Com- 
mons, "These are, therefore, to command you to 
make known in our name unto the House that none 
therein shall presume henceforth to meddle with 
anything concerning our government or deep mat- 
ters of state." He insisted that "these are unfit 
things to be handled in Parliament except your 
king requires it of you. ..." As to the privileges of 
Parliament James wrote, "We cannot allow of the 
style calling it your ancient and undoubted right 
and inheritance, but could rather have wished that 
ye had said that your privileges were derived from 
the grace and permission of our ancestors and 

The Commons, on the other hand, a week later, 

* Apology of the Commons, 1604; Petyt, Jus P arliamentarium, 
^ Letter of the king to the House of Commons, December 10, 1621. 


placed this protestation on their minutes : " That the 
liberties, privileges, and jurisdictions of Parliament 
are the ancient and undoubted birthright and in- 
heritance of the subjects of England, and that the 
arduous and urgent affairs concerning the king, 
state, and defence of the realm, and of the church 
of England and the maintenance and making of 
laws, and redress of mischiefs and grievances which 
daily happen within this realm, are proper subjects 
and matters of counsel and debate in Parliament; 
and that in the handling and proceeding of those 
businesses every member of the House of Parlia- 
ment hath and of right ought to have freedom of 
speech to propound, treat, reason, and bring to con- 
clusion the same." ^ It is true that James sent 
for the Journal and tore this page from its records, 
but he could not tear the belief in its statements 
from the hearts of a great part of the people of Eng- 

King and Parliament held diametrically opposite 
views of their relative powders, and both appealed to 
the past in justification of their opinions. But Eng- 
land's past was a long story, and its successive chap- 
ters read very variously. James appealed to the 
immediate past to justify his possession of the "in- 
separable rights and prerogatives annexed to our 
imperial crown, whereof, not only in the times of 
other our progenitors, but in the blessed reign of our 
late predecessor, that renowned queen Elizabeth, 

* Rushworth, Historical Collections, I., 53. 


we found our crown actually possessed."* The 
leaders of the House of Commons, on the other hand, 
were looking back to a more remote past, the birth- 
time and period of acknowledgment by the crown 
of the parliamentary privileges and English liberties 
which now seemed to them endangered. 

As a matter of fact. Parliament, like all other 
political institutions in England, had grown up 
around the monarchy. Primarily, the Houses were 
a body of advisers of the king, summoned by him 
to give their coimsel in matters in which he needed 
the advice of the various classes of his subjects ; and 
to give their consent to taxation, which would re- 
quire sacrifice on the part of the people. Once or- 
ganized, however, Parliament gathered into itself 
all the shadowy survivals of self-government com- 
ing down from a still earlier period ; it reflected the 
local independence of the towns and coimties which 
sent members to the House of Commons, and the 
corporate rights of the church and individual priv- 
ileges of the nobility, which constituted its upper 
house ; it served as the instrument by which the na- 
tion at various times protected itself against bad 
government ; it embodied the fifteenth-century ideal 
of a government conjointly by king and estates of 
the realm. 

Moreover, Parhament gained by repeated use 

and acknowledgment an established procedure and 

powers, well - understood rights, and precedents 

* King's proclamation on dissolving Parliament, J anusLTy 6, 1622. 


frequently invoked. The four fundamental privi- 
leges of members of Parliament were: (i) freedom 
of elections; (2) freedom from arrest during the ses- 
sions; (3) freedom of speech in debate; (4) freedom 
of access to the sovereign for their speaker, if not 
for all individually. These were frequently acknowl- 
edged by the sovereign at the opening of Parliament 
and enrolled upon its records, and still more frequent- 
ly asserted in the House. ^ The powers of Parlia- 
ment were less clearly defined than its privileges; 
but its control over taxation and legislation, its 
right to impeach the king's ministers and to dis- 
cuss all matters of interest to the nation, were fre- 
quently asserted and usually conceded.^ 

Thus Parliament was much more than a royal 
council; it was a body with claims to co-ordinate 
powers of government. How far, at any one time, 
these privileges and powers were conceded, how far 
they were denied or encroached upon by the crown, 
was largely dependent on circumstances. These 
circumstances during Tudor times had been such as 
to put the initiative and much of the actual power 
of government in the hands of the king, and parlia- 
mentary powers were largely in abeyance. Parlia- 
ment during this time was a conservative body ; the 
monarchy was the innovating element of the state. 

* D'Ewes, Journals, 65, 66, 175, 236, 259, 411, 460, etc.; 
Petyt, Jus P arliamentarium , 227 - 243, quoted in Prothero, 
Select Statutes, 289; Commons Journals, I., 431, etc. 

2 Gneist, Hist, of the English Constitution, chaps, v., xxxii. 


Circumstances changed with the closing years of 
the sixteenth century and favored an increase of 
parHamentary participation in government. With 
all her prestige the old queen herself had to feel it.^ 
With the accession of the half -foreign Stuarts, with 
the cessation of danger of invasion from abroad, 
with the increasing weight of exactions of an un- 
wise and impopular personal government, with the 
growing interest of the seventeenth century in mat- 
ters of politics, and, above all, with the development 
of Puritanism, individuahstic and self-assertive in 
its very essence. Parliament was sure to reassert all 
the powers which it had ever possessed, and likely 
to seek to extend them. The king was now the 
conservative element, while Parliament, if recent 
conditions be taken as the standard, was the in- 
novating party. 

It w^as exactly at this period of contest and of 
unsettled balance of powers that the early settle- 
ments were made in America. The colonists repre- 
sented almost without exception what might be 
called the parliamentarian view. It w^as not the 
king, the courtiers, the nobles, the judges, the higher 
clergy, the official classes, and the fellows of the 
universities that emigrated. Among these the roy- 
alist spirit was strong, but they remained in Eng- 
land. It was rather from the middle and lower 
classes, from those w^ho were on poor terms with 
the king, whatever their position in society, from the 
* D'Ewes, Journals, 602. 


persecuted, the dissatisfied, the restless, that the 
great body of colonists was drawn ; and among these 
classes the views upheld by the House of Commons 
were wide -spread. The same thing was true of 
those companies which, remaining in England, yet 
had so much influence over the destinies of the 
American colonies. The most influential elements 
in the Virginia Company, the Massachusetts Bay 
Company, and other similar bodies were distinctly 
opposed to the high claims of the king. Yet una- 
nimity did not exist even among those who left Eng- 
land ; and strong as the predilection was among the 
founders of America for self-government and repre- 
sentative institutions, the Old- World differences of 
view were transferred to the colonies and played 
a part in local struggles there. 

Much of the disputation between James and the 
House of Commons concerned the privileges of Par- 
liament, and might be suspected of being largely 
the natural jealousy of its own rights felt and as- 
serted by an ancient corporation. But Parliament 
was waging war for larger objects than the rights 
of its own body ; it felt itself to be defending in its 
own privileges the personal rights of all English- 
men. In the contested election case of 1604 a 
member declared that "the case of Sir John For- 
tescue and Sir Francis Goodwin has become the 
case of the whole kingdom."^ "The rights and 
liberties of your subjects of England and the privi- 
' Commons Journals, I., 159, March 30, 1604. 


leges of this House," is a formula that appears fre- 
quently in the documents of the time, and combines 
the two objects of the contest, in which the latter 
were upheld largely because they supported and 
protected the former. 

These ancient rights of the people were less defi- 
nite than either the privileges or the powers of Parlia- 
ment. They were, perhaps, attractive and valued 
somewhat in proportion to their vagueness. They 
certainly included right of freedom from arrest or 
imprisonment except on a definite charge and by 
due process of law; they included exemption from 
taxation except after consent of Parliament ; * they 
included protection against violence and injustice; 
they included the right of petition to the king 
against any grievance,^ and in general a right to 
have the laws enforced, yet to have nothing done to 
their disadvantage which was not in the law. It 
was the spirit rather than the letter of Magna Carta 
that was valued by the English people. 

As time passed and under Charles I. the conflict 
between the parliamentary and the royal claims be- 
came more intense, the upholders of the former fell 
back more and more on the ancient rights and 
liberties of the people, and relatively less is said of 
parliamentary privileges. In the Petition of Right 

* Hakewell's argument in the Bates case of 16 10 (Slate Trials, 
ed. 1779, XI.); Petition of Right of 1628. 

' Coke's speech on Petition of Right (Parliamentary History, 
VIII., 104). 

VOL. I, — 19 ' 


of 1629, Parliament appeals to the Great Charter, 
to the Confirmation of the Charters, and to other 
early statements of personal liberties. Pym de- 
clared that ''the liberties of this House are inferior 
to the liberties of this kingdom." When the civil 
war was actually imminent, in December, 1641, the 
Grand Remonstrance was issued as a statement of 
the contentions of the leaders in Parliament. In 
this document ''the people," "the liberties of sub- 
jects," "rights of the nation," and other popular 
expressions are constantly used or implied.^ 

Ultimately, as a result of the struggles of the 
later years of the seventeenth century, the more im- 
portant of such rights were formulated in the Bill 
of Rights of 1689. Thus the heritage of civil free- 
dom which the people of England had traditionally 
enjoyed was neither taken from them by the strong 
monarchy of the sixteenth century nor forgotten 
in the struggle of Parliament for its own privileges 
in the seventeenth. It was reasserted with con- 
stantly new insistence in England, and was carried 
to America by the colonists as an acknowledged 
and valued possession. 

* Grand Remonstrance, §§ 11, 19, 28, 40, 53, 57, 98, 130, etc., 
in Rushworth, Historical Collections, IV., 438. 



THE ordinary Englishman in the seventeenth 
century had much more to do with local than 
with national government. Only a few score men 
served the king as ministers, councillors, or judges; 
only a few himdred attended Parliament; while 
as lords lieutenant, sheriffs, justices of the peace, 
constables, church-wardens, mayors, aldermen, and 
in other capacities of local and limited but real 
power, many thousands must have taken a part in 
public affairs. National government was remote 
from the ordinary man ; local government came close 
to him. The political institutions which surrounded 
him on all sides, insensibly controlling every action 
and forming the world to which his outward life 
conformed, were familiar to him and affected his 
habits and ideas, whether he remained at home or 
emigrated to the colonies, far more directly than 
did the political institutions of the nation. 

The oldest, most stable, and most important 
unit of local government was the shire, or county. 
The conspicuous official and histioric head of th§ 



county was the sheriff. As Camden says, ** Every 
year some one of the gentlemen inhabitants is made 
ruler of the county wherein he dwelleth." ^ 

Though no longer relatively so powerful as in the 
Middle Ages, his position was even yet one of much 
dignity and importance. On occasions of public 
ceremony he had an imposing personal retinue, car- 
ried a white rod of office, and wore official robes. ^ 
Richard Evelyn, when sheriff, " had one hundred and 
sixteen servants in liverys, every one liveryed in 
greene sattin doubhets; divers gentlemen and per- 
sons of quality waited on him in the same garbe 
and habit." ^ William Ffarrington, sheriff of Lan- 
cashire in 1636, kept up the following household: a 
steward, a clerk of the kitchen, two yeomen of the 
plate cupboard, a yeoman of the wine-cellar, two 
attendants on the sheriff's chamber, an usher of 
the hall, two chamberlains, four butlers and but- 
ler's assistants, eight cooks, five scullions, a porter, 
a baker, a caterer, a slaughterman, a poulterer, two 
watchmen for the horses, two men to attend the 
docket door each day by turns, twenty men to at- 
tend upon the prisoners each day by turns — alto- 
gether a household of fifty-six servants.* 

^ Camden, Britannia (ed. 1637), 160. 

' King, The Vale-Royall, 40; North, Examen, quoted in Diet. 
Nat. Biog., XII., 121. ' Evelyn, Diary, 1634. 

* The Shrievalty of William Ffarrington, 17 (Chatham Society). 
This reference and a number of those which follow I owe to the 
industry and good scholarship of Mr. Charles Burrows, a young 
man of great promise, who, after studying at the universities 


With the need for such official outlays, it is no 
wonder that a long series of statutes should have 
provided that the sheriff should be one who had 
land in the county "sufficient to answer king and 
people." ^ In fact, he was usually a knight or a man 
of such rank as might be made a knight. A Hst of 
the sheriffs of the coimty of Chester during the 
reigns of James I. and Charles I. shows twenty- 
three knights and twenty-three without title, but 
presumably of equal rank in society.^ Many of the 
best-known men of this period, such as Sir Thomas 
Wentworth, Sir Ralph Vemey, Sir WilHam Selby, 
and Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, afterwards earl of 
Shaftesbury, acted at various times as sheriffs of 
their respective counties. They were direct succes- 
sors of Chaucer's Franklyn, of whom we are told, 

"A schir-reeve had he been." 

With some exceptions, such as those cities which 
had their own elective sheriffs, and those pairs of 
coimties which were conjoined under one sheriff, 
each shire had one sheriff, appointed in the follow- 
ing manner: every year, on November i, a special 
meeting of the Privy Council was held at the ex- 
chequer, a number of the higher government officials 
being especially required to be present; here a list 

of Chicago and Pennsylvania, and beginning the preparation of 
a thesis on the subject of this chapter, went abroad for further 
study and died in 1902. 

^ 9 Ed. II., St. 2; 4 Ed. III., chap, ix.; 5 Ed. III., chaps, iv., 
xiii., xiv. 2 King, The Vale-Royall, 233. 


of three persons of distinction from each county, 
quahfied to fill the office of sheriff, was made up and 
submitted to the king, who " pricked" one from each 
three ; the men thus chosen were then bound to seek 
letters-patent, and take their oaths as sheriffs for 
the ensuing year in their respective counties/ 

By law the same man could not be appointed for 
two successive years. ^ This was probably a wel- 
come restriction, as the appointees bore somewhat 
unwillingly the burdens and expenditures of the 
office.^ In 1630 we find Sir Francis Coke writing to 
ask Sir J. Coke ''to keep my loving neighbour and 
friend Edward Revell of Brookhill from being sheriff 
this year" ; * and in 1663 Evelyn enters in his diary, 
"To court to get Sir John Evelyn, of Godstone, off 
from being sheriff of Surrey."^ 

It is true that the office brought with it many 
small fees. A long list of customary payments for 
the issue of various writs and the performance of 
various services by the sheriff is given in the manuals 
of the time.® On the other hand, the fees payable 
by the sheriff to the officials of the exchequer on his 
appointment and discharge,^ the expenses of his of- 
fice, and the requirements of his position for social 
expenditure were very considerable, and the com- 
ment of a contemporary law-writer was, no doubt, 

^ Fortescue, De Laudihus Legum AnglicE, chap. xxiv. 

^ 14 Ed. III., chap, vii., etc. 

^ Hist. MSS. Commission, Report VIL, App., 3-9, 25. 

* Ibid., Report XII., App. I., 414. ^ November 6, 1663. 

* Greenwood, The County Court, 183. ' Ibid., 122. 


in most cases, justified : " But the sheriff is at much 
more charge, which is laid out and is disbursed 
during his sheriffwick, as experience will inform 

Another burden of the sheriff's office was enforced 
residence in his own county during his term of ser- 
vice. The records are overspread with fines for the 
violation of this requirement and with requests for 
dispensations from conformity to it.^ A person- 
age in an old play says of the ladies of his time, 
'' I think they would rather marr}' a London jailer 
than a high-sheriff of a cotmty, since neither can stir 
from his employment." ^ 

The title high-sheriff, frequently used instead of 
the simple term sheriff, had no especial significance 
and was probably suggested by a desire to dis- 
criminate him from the under-sheriff. The exact- 
ing duties of the office led the sheriff very frequently 
to appoint, at his own cost, such a subordinate and 
to empower him to perform such services as could 
be legally transferred to another. He was usually 
a man of some position, " learned somewhat in the 
law, especially if the sheriff be not learned him- 
self e." * He was a source of considerable expense 

^ Greenwood, The Cotmty Court, 187. 

2 Hist. MSS. Commission, Report VII., App., 5; Rushworth, 
Historical Collections, II., App., 27; Deputy Keeper of the Pub- 
lic 'R.ecords, Re ports, XlAll., 151; Cal. of State Pap., Dom., 1628- 
1629, pp., 396, 403, etc. 

^ Wycherly, The Country Wife, act iv., sc. 1. 

* Smith, Commonwealth of England, book II., chap. xvii. 


to his superior, an estimate of annual cost made in 
1628 amounting to £352 185. 6d. He relieved the 
sheriff, however, of his more onerous and invidious 
duties. North declared that ''Clifford and Shaftes- 
bury looked like high-sheriff and under-sheriff. The 
former held the white staff and had his name to all 
retxirns, but all the business, especially the knavish 
part, was done by the latter." ^ 

The duties of the sheriff were many and varied; 
some of them old judicial and administrative func- 
tions, others new and irregular services demanded 
of him by the innovating Tudor and Stuart sover- 
eigns. Every month he must hold a county court, 
at which were brought suits for debts of less than 
forty shillings, suits for damages, for breach of con- 
tract, for non-payment of wages, for not returning 
borrowed or pledged articles, and a hundred other 
petty causes.^ In this court also, and at some 
other times and places, he must proclaim certain 
ancient statutes and new laws and ordinances for 
the information and warning of the people. 

The coimty court as a judicial body was, in the 
seventeenth century, a waning institution, its com- 
petence and functions becoming rapidly obsolete; 
but occasionally it awakened suddenly to life, took 
on a new aspect, and became of unwonted impor- 
tance. This occurred when a summons was issued 
for a new parliament, for the coimty court was the 

Examen, 8, quoted in Diet. Nat. Biog., XIL, 113. 
Fitzherbert, Natwa Brevium, 28 d, etc, 


electing body of the knights of the shire, and to the 
next session after the writs for the parliament had 
been issued came the gentry and freeholders of the 
coimty to elect their representatives/ There was 
often a great concourse and much excitement, and 
the petty disputes of poor suitors and the labors of 
obscure officials were for the time completely super- 

The sheriff, as presiding official at this election, 
as the returning officer of the elected members, and 
as the official charged with levying money for the 
payment of their wages and expenses, had an ac- 
tive and influential connection with the choice of 
members of Parliament. A long series of statutes 
checked the abuses connected with this influence; 
but even yet the sheriff exercised some power over 
the selection made, especially when he was a man 
of large influence in his county apart from his 

There was great irregularity in the process of 
election. Sometimes the members were elected by 
acclamation, sometimes by show of hands, some- 
times by a poll, one voter after another expressing 
orally his preference. The election should, by law, 
be held between eight and eleven o'clock in the 
morning, but a sheriff sometimes postponed the 
election, or refused to acknowledge the candidate 
insisted on by the electors, or threw out votes which 
he claimed were not properly given, or closed the 

* Dalton, Officium Vicecomitum, chap. xcii. ' Ibid. 


election when his preferred candidate was in an ad- 
vantageous position. The journals of the House 
of Commons are filled with reports of contested 
elections, and sheriffs are repeatedly found kneeling 
at the bar of the House to receive censure or pardon 
for such offences.^ 

A period of scarcely less responsibility for the 
sheriff was the semi-annual assizes, when the judges 
in their robes, on their circuit, with all the dignity 
of the judicial representatives of the crown, visited 
the county.^ It was the duty of the sheriff to see 
that grand and petty juries were ready to perform 
the services required of them by these judges, and 
to carry out the mandates and judgments of the 
court. These judgments, which he had to execute 
either in person or by his under-sheriff or bailiffs, 
varied in character from the serving of writs or 
levying upon property for debt to the infliction of 
the death penalty.^ The sheriff had also the 
supervision of the jail and the appointment of jail- 
ers. His presence at the two assizes of the year 
was considered one of his most fundamental duties, 
and heavy fines were imposed when occasionally a 
sheriff was absent from his post at that time.* He 
not only met the judges with his retinue and fur- 

^ Commons Journals, I., 511, 556, 801, 854, 884, etc. 

2 Rush worth, Historical Collections, I., 294. 

^ Greenwood, 133; Fortescue, De Laudibus Legum AnglicB, 
chap. xxiv. 

"* Rushworth, Historical Collections, II., App., 27; Cal. of State 
Pap., Dom., 1628-1629, p. 396. 


nished them a guard, but feasted them and acted as 
a sort of local host to the circuit court so long as it 
was in session in his county. 

Closely analogous to this duty of the sheriff was 
the requirement that he should be present, provide 
jurymen, and carry out the behests of the justices 
of the peace at their quarter-sessions; but the jus- 
tices were, like himself, local officers belonging to 
the county, not visitors from the capital, so that 
their sessions had little of the ceremony and excite- 
ment of the assizes; and, in fact, the sheriff was 
usually represented there by the under-sheriff act- 
ing as his deputy/ 

In addition to these and many less conspicuous 
regular duties the sheriff in the early seventeenth 
century was utilized from time to time by the cen- 
tral government in irregular and somewhat question- 
able services. When James revived the distraint of 
knighthood it was the sheriffs who were required 
to make out lists of all who had £40 a year of lands 
or rents and to order them to appear at court and 
receive knighthood. When Charles I. revived the 
imposition of ship-money it was to the sheriff of 
each county that the writ was sent, stating the 
amount to be paid by his county and ordering him 
to arrange with the lower officials for its assess- 
ment and collection. 

The patriotic resistance of Hampden found a par- 

* Lister, Two Earliest Sessions Rolls of West Riding of 
Yorkshire, 1597-1602, III., 28, 44, 64, etc. 


allel in the passive opposition of some of the sheriffs 
to this demand upon them. On June 30, 1640, the 
King's Council wrote to the sheriff of Himtingdon- 
shire: "We have read and considered of your letter 
of the 24th of the present, wherein we perceive that 
you have been rather industrious to represent the 
difficulties which, as you say, you find in the exe- 
cution of his majesty's writ, than circumspect or 
careful, as you ought to have been, in overcoming 
and removing them, . . . and we cannot but make 
this judgment upon your proceedings, that instead 
of doing your duty in person and compelling others 
subordinate to you to do theirs, you endeavor to 
make excuses both for yourself and them."^ 

Alongside of the sheriff at the head of the shire 
was another officer, the lord-lieutenant, whose po- 
sition, although but recently attained, was in some 
ways more conspicuous and in certain exigencies 
more powerful than his. No statute or other formal 
action provided for the original creation of the lord- 
lieutenancy, and it is probable that Henry VIII. 
simply began the habit of delegating his military 
power in the shires to such officers. Early in the 
reign of Edward VL, October, 1549, they are men- 
tioned as existing in the counties, and by 1600 their 
office was fully established.^ This position was 
usually held by the greatest nobleman with estates 
in the county, and he appointed as his deputies 

* Rushworth, Historical Collections, I,, 1203. 

' 3 and 4 Ed. VI., chap, v., in Statutes of the Realms IV., 107. 


various knights and gentlemen of high position ; as 
when, in 1626, the duke of Buckingham was lord- 
lieutenant of Bucks, and Sir Edward Verney and 
five others were his deputies in that coimty. Al- 
though purely honorary, the appointment was one of 
much dignity and responsibility in military matters. 

It was the duty of the lord-lieutenant in times of 
peace to see that the musters of the trained bands 
were regularly held, that the militia-men had their 
arms, and that m.en of higher rank who owed military 
service to the crown were prepared to perform it ; in 
time of war to levy, muster, and train soldiers, fix 
the quotas of the hundreds and townships, see to 
the payment of troops, the collection of horses, and 
equipment generally, imtil the recruits were actually 
handed over to their officers. It was also their 
duty to see that the beacons were kept in order. 
The lords-lieutenant must be present, by an order of 
161 5, nine months in the year^ in their coimties; 
but there was no such rigorous requirement of con- 
stant residence as in the case of the sheriff, nor was 
the appointment restricted to a single year. 

Such an official as the lord-lieutenant was not 
likely to be left unburdened with other duties when 
the government was struggling to obtain the enforce- 
ment of its laws, and, as a matter of fact, functions 
quite unmilitary were imposed upon him. In 1637 
the council orders the lords-lieutenant of six of the 
eastern counties to assist in the better enforcement 

* Cal. of State Pap., Dom., 1611-1618, p. 337. 


of the acts for the drainage of the marshes/ In 
162 1 they are to investigate frauds of his majesty's 
carters.^ They are asked to help collect subsidies 
and benevolences, to search for popish recusants, to 
oversee ale-houses, slaughter-houses, and the assize 
of bread and ale, to assist in the administration of 
poor relief and the suppression of vagrancy.^ In 
16 1 9 the Lords of the Council write to the lieutenant 
of Surrey asking him to urge co-operation in a lot- 
tery for the success of " the English colonies planted 
in Virginia, to accept the sums adventured, and to 
report to the treasurer and council of Virginia." ^ 

Much less dignified in position than either the 
lord - lieutenant or the sheriff, and yet filling an 
old and important ofiice, was the coroner. He 
was elected by the freeholders of the county in the 
county court, and his oath was administered by the 
county clerk. He was, therefore, more distinctly 
local and representative than the other county 
ofiicers, who were appointed by the crown ; and as a 
result he was the only officer whose office did not 
terminate with the death of the king. Notwith- 
standing the generality of duties indicated by his 
name, *'custos placitarum cor once,'' his functions were 
few beyond the fundamental duty of investigating 
sudden deaths and binding over for trial such per- 

^ Cal. of State Pap., Dom., 1637, p. 92. 
2 Hist. MSS. Commission, Report VII., App., 670, 
' Chetham Society , Lancashire Lieutenancy , I., Int., 19; Cam- 
den Society, Verney Papers, 37, 88. 

* Hist. MSS. Commission, Report VII., App., 670. 


sons as were indicated by the jury through which 
he made his inquest.^ Under some circumstances 
the coroner took the place of the sheriff, and in 
general his position looked back to a time when it 
was of greater significance than it had become in the 
seventeenth century.^ 

^ Smith, Commonwealth of England, book II., chap. xxiv. 
* Greenwood, The County Court, 258. 



HOWEVER extensive the duties of the officers 
whose functions are described above, the real 
men-of-all-work in the coimties at this time were 
the justices of the peace. The law required that a 
justice of the peace must have lands and tenements 
to the value of £20 a year, the amount of the legal 
knight's fee;^ but ordinarily he had much greater 
property. John Evelyn's father, who has been so 
often referred to as a typical country gentleman of 
the early seventeenth century, had an estate of 
£4000 a year when he was successively sheriff and 
justice of the peace. ^ The justice of the peace, 
like the sheriff, the lord-lieutenant, and the coroner, 
was expected to perform his public services as part 
of his patriotic duty. It is true that certain statutes 
provided that part of the fines for any violation 
should go to the justices before whom the violators 
were prosecuted; two or three others gave small 
fees to the justice for affixing his seal or signing a 

* 18 Henry VI., chap. xi. 
' Evelyn, Diary, year 1634. 



document; but these were apparently casual efforts 
to secure enforcement, and can have brought no ap- 
preciable return to the justices. The law gave each 
justice 2s. for each day of quarter - sessions up to 
three days; but this could have produced at most 
only 65., and seems to have been usually jointly ex- 
pended by the magistrates in a dinner. 

In an interesting speech by a Mr. Glascock in 
the House of Commons, December 16, 1601, two 
equally tmdesirable justices are described — first, 
the one "who from base stock and lineage by his 
wealth IS gotten to be within the commission ' ' ; the 
other *'a gentleman born, virtuous, discreet, and 
wise, yet poor and needy. And so only for his 
virtues and qualities put into the commission. This 
man I hold imfit to be a justice, though I think him 
to be a good member in the commonwealth. Be- 
cause I hold this for a ground infallible — that no 
poor man ought to be in authority. My reason is 
this: he will so bribe you and extort you that the 
sweet scent of riches and gain taketh away and con- 
foimdeth the true taste of justice and equity." ^ 

But burdensome as the duties of a justice must 
have been, and almost unpaid as they were, the 
office does not seem to have been avoided as was 
that of sheriff. Probably such service was taken 
as a matter of course by the gentry, and compensa- 
tion was found in the stamp of social position it 
placed upon them, and in the sense of power, as well 

* Townshend, Proceedings, 953, 954. 

VOL. I. — 20 


as of a patriotic fulfilment of duty. It was some- 
times a matter of complaint that ''with us these 
magistrates have been so imsuitably appointed that 
a county justice is made a jest in comedies, and his 
character the subject of buffoonery and laughter." ^ 
This is an obvious reference to Justice Shallow and 
other worthies of the dramatists. It is dangerous 
to make too serious an inference from contemporary 
comedies, because certain personages soon became 
stock characters and ceased to have any very close 
relation to actual life; and in this particular in- 
stance Shakespeare was probably gratifying an old 

Nevertheless, there was evidently some founda- 
tion for this picture of the county justice. Dorothy 
Osborne, in one of her delightful letters to Sir Will- 
iam Temple, in giving her requirements for a husband, 
pokes fun at such ambitions. "He must not be so 
much of a country gentleman as to understand noth- 
ing but hawks and dogs, and be fonder of either than 
his wife; nor of the next sort of them whose aim 
reaches no further than to be Justice of the Peace, 
and once in his life High Sheriff, who reads no book 
but statutes, and studies nothing but how to make 
a speech interlarded with Latin that may amaze his 
disagreeing poor neighbours, and fright them rather 
than persuade them into quietness." ^ 

* Carey, English Liberties, 275. 

' Letters of Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, letter 36 
(ed. by Parry), p. 171. 


With all these criticisms, and in the face of occa- 
sional ineptitude, the body of justices of the peace 
included much ability. It was scarcely possible for 
a justice to act without some knowledge of Latin, 
as almost all the records and documents which he 
would have to make, read, or sign were in that lan- 
guage. A succession of text-books on the duties 
of the office, the more important of them appearing 
in many successive editions, proves an intelligent 
interest and demand for instruction in their duties. 
Moreover, the men who served as justices were often 
well known in other ways, many of them as sheriffs, 
as members of Parliament, and in still other capac- 
ities. They were of families who provided the active 
men of enterprise of the period. The list of Devon- 
shire justices in 1592 includes Sir Francis Drake, Sir 
Ferdinando Gorges, Gilberts, Carews, Seymours, 
Courtenays, and other names prominent among 
the men who laid the foundations of the maritime 
greatness of England and of the existence of America. 
Of the fifty-five, tw^enty-eight were at one time or 
another high-sheriffs of the county, twenty more 
were then, or became afterwards, knights, six sat 
in the House of Commons, and three in the House 
of Lords. ^ 

The justices of the peace were fair represent- 
atives of that great class of rural gentry which 
exercised so strong an influence over the destinies 
of England in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and 
* Hamilton, Devonshire Quarter-Sessions, 3, 330-348. 


eighteenth centuries. From this class were drawn 
all the county officials who have been named, ex- 
cept the lord-lieutenant; from it were chosen the 
county representatives to Parliament; and in it 
were found the strength and the weakness of the 
English political system. James I., in appealing to 
the country gentry to continue to live on their 
estates in their counties, said to them, "Gentlemen, 
at London you are like ships in a sea, which shew 
like nothing, but in your country villages you are 
like ships in a river, which look like great things." * 

Out of this body of rural gentry from twenty to 
sixty in each county were chosen by the lord-chan- 
cellor to serve as justices of the peace. ^ The "com- 
mission of the peace," by which the justices were 
appointed and from which they drew their powers, 
was a formula well known and constantly quoted 
and commented upon, and added to from time to time 
until late in the sixteenth century. In was then, 
in 1590, revised and formulated anew by Sir Chris- 
topher May, Chief -Justice, with the advice of all the 
other judges of the time, and has not been changed 
from that day to this.^ 

The justices of the peace performed some of their 
duties separately, acting individually as circum- 
stances required, or as proved convenient to them- 
selves. Other powers they could exercise only when 

* Bacon, Apothegms, in Works (Spedding and Heath ed.), 
VII., 125. ^ Lambard, Eirenarcha, book I., chap. v. 

' Ibid., book II., chap. vii. 


two or more acted together and concurrently. Still 
others, and those far the most important and dig- 
nified, they performed in a body at their "quarter- 
sessions." What things a justice might do singly, 
what two, three, or four justices might do together, 
and what they might do only in the formal sessions 
of the whole body of justices of the peace of the 
coimty were defined partly in the statutes, partly in 
the commission under which the}^ acted. 

The regular or quarter-sessions were meetings held 
four times a year — in October, midwinter, spring, 
and midsummer — at which all the justices of the 
peace of the county were supposed to be present. 
There were, besides, occasional irregular sessions, or 
meetings of the regular sessions adjourned from one 
time to another. In corporate towns the city offi- 
cers acted as justices of the peace, reinforced usually 
by some others especially appointed ; and each town 
followed its own customs as to meeting in general 

Although the law contemplated the attendance 
of all the justices of the county at each quarter- 
sessions, as a matter of fact the attendance was very 
irregular and incomplete, few of the records, so far 
as published, showing an attendance of as many as a 
dozen out of perhaps forty or fifty. Most of them 
evidently came riding up to quarter-sessions if it 
suited their convenience and remained away if it 
did not, restricting their services to those duties 
which could be performed in their own neighbor- 


hoods, and leaving to a few active, regular, and hard- 
working magistrates the responsibilities of the higher 

Of those who made up quarter-sessions one at 
least must be "of the quorum." This expression is 
taken from the commission of the justices of the 
peace, which in the clause giving to the justices the 
power to inquire and determine by oath of the 
jurors as to felonies and other offences and to punish 
them, after naming all those to whom the commis- 
sion for that county is issued, says, quorum aliquem 
vestrum, A, B,Cj etc., unum esse volumus (of whom 
we wish you, A, B, C, etc., to be one), naming pre- 
sumably such as were learned in the law or other- 
wise especially trustworthy.^ As without the pres- 
ence of one of the "quorum" no quarter-sessions 
could be held, to be a "justice of the peace and of 
the quorum ' ' was to be one of a select list of the 
justices. One-third or one-half of the list of those 
in the commission were usually named also in the 

In addition to the justices there should, according 
to law, be present at quarter-sessions, in the first 
place, the custos rotulorum, or keeper of the rolls of 
the sessions, the '' cust-alorum'' of Justice Shallow.^ 
This was always one of the justices of high rank 
indicated to the lord-chancellor for appointment 

* West Riding Sessions Rolls; Manchester Quarter -Sessions, 
passim. 2 Lambarde, Eirenarcha, book I., chap. ix. 

3 Merry Wives of Windsor, act i., sc. i. 


by the king himself/ and was very apt to be the 
lord-Heutenant of the county. He could be, and 
probably was, usually represented at the sessions 
by a deputy, who was a person of considerable im-r 
portance and influence, upon whom much respon- 
sibility was placed by the statutes, and whose abil- 
ities must have been constantly relied upon by the 
magistrates. The title of this deputy was ''clerk of 
the peace," the predecessor apparently of the Amer- 
ican county clerk. He was usually familiar with 
the law, and his knowledge of precedents and pro- 
cedure must often have stood the unlearned jus- 
tices in good stead, besides the work which he per- 
formed in drawing up indictments, writing orders, 
and keeping records. 

Besides the custos and the clerk, the sheriff or his 
deputy were bound to be present prepared to em- 
panel jurors and execute process; as well as the 
jailer ready to produce his prisoners; the superin- 
tendent of the county house of correction ; all jurors 
who had been summoned by the sheriff ; all persons 
who had been bound over by single justices to ap- 
pear at quarter-sessions; all high constables and 
bailiffs of hundreds; and the coroners.^ The quar- 
ter-sessions should, by law, be kept for three con- 
tinuous days if there was any need;^ but, as a 
matter of fact, sessions seldom lasted more than a 

* 37 Henry VIII., chap. i. 

2 Dalton, Officium VicecomiUim, chaps, xxxiv., clxxxv. 

^ f 2 Richard II., chap, x. 


day, and a contemporary complains that ''many 
doe scantly afford them three whole hours, besides 
the time which is spent in calhng of the coimty and 
giving of the charge." ^ 

The powers and duties of the justices of the peace 
in quarter-sessions and separately were so consider- 
able and varied as to tax the ability of an Eliza- 
bethan or Jacobean text-book writer to reduce them 
to simplicity of statement, or to the compass of five 
or six hundred pages of enumeration. Many of 
these powers were general, arising from the nature of 
the office for the ' ' conservation of the peace ' ' ; but 
the great mass of their duties was placed upon them 
by statutes. Ten early statutes are enumerated 
in the commission itself, before coming to the in- 
clusive "and cause to be kept all other ordinances 
and statutes made for the good of our peace and the 
quiet rule and government of our people." From 
the middle of the fifteenth centurv^ forvv^ard, the en- 
forcement of the greater number of new laws was 
placed primarily in the hands of the justices of the 

As time passed on legislation became more and 
more minute and inclusive. Few interests in hu- 
man life escaped the paternal attention of govern- 
ment under the Tudor s and Stuarts, and this great 
mass of enactment it became the duty of the groups 
of country gentry in the counties and of the civic 
magistrates of the towns to put into force. A 
^ Lambarde, Eirenarcha, book IV., chap. xix. 


writer of the time enumerates two himdred and 
ninety-three statutes passed previous to 1603 in 
which justices of the peace are mentioned and given 
some jurisdiction or duties.^ Under EHzabeth alone 
there were seventy-eight, ranging from the "preser- 
vation of spawn and frie of fish" to those '' touching 
bulls from Rome." The infrequent and short-lived 
parliaments of James I. added thirty-six to the Hst.^ 

Although many of these laws are repetitions, 
some others temporary or local, still others insig- 
nificant, yet, on the other hand, some of them opened 
up whole new fields of activity to the justices: as, 
for instance, those placing upon them, after 1563, 
the administration of the Act of Apprentice; and, 
after 15 81, the responsibility for the search for and 
punishment of popish recusants. A whole code of 
law, procedure, and precedent grew up on these tw^o 
subjects, besides others scarcely less extensive. 

Quarter-sessions had nothing to do with civil suits, 
and cases of treason, murder, and certain other high 
crimes were excluded from their competence. Apart 
from this restriction and these offences, there was 
little difference between sessions and assizes, be- 
tween the jurisdiction of the learned judges of the 
king in their half-yearly circuit and that of the 
coimty magistrates in their quarter-sessions. Be- 
fore them both grand and petty juries were empan- 
elled, indictments drawn up, prisoners tried for 

^ Lambarde, Eirenarcha, book IV., chap, xix., Table, App. 
2 Dalton, The Country Justice, Table of Contents. 


assault, burglary, horse-stealing, witchcraft, pocket- 
picking, keeping up nuisances, cheating, failure to 
attend church, and almost all other offences of 
which seventeenth-century Englishmen were capa- 
ble. If convicted they were placed in the stocks, 
whipped, or hanged. In Devonshire, in the mid- 
winter sessions of 1598, out of sixty -five culprits who 
were tried eight were hanged ; at midsummer, out of 
forty-five eight were hanged, thirteen flogged, seven 
acquitted, and seven, on account of their claim of 
benefit of clergy, were branded and then released/ 

The justices in sessions or singly also performed 
much administrative work, such as the oversight 
and repair of bridges, the granting of licenses to 
ale-houses, the establishment of wages, the binding 
out of apprentices, and the relief of wounded soldiers. 
Many laws passed under Elizabeth and James I. 
admitted of exceptions when approved by one or 
more justices of the peace, and there was thus con- 
stant occasion for granting to individual persons or 
at special times permission to export grain, to turn 
their barley into malt, to build cottages without 
land attached, to carry hand-guns, to buy and sell 
out of market-hours, to beg, and other dispensa- 
tions from the rigorous application of the law.^ 

The punishing of recusants and the discipline of 
those who refused or neglected to go to church was, 
as already stated, an active occupation of the jus- 

' Hamilton, Devonshire Quarter-Sessions, t^t,. 
' Jhid., 27. 164, etc, 


tices. At certain times, such as the period just fol- 
lowing the Gunpowder Plot, when the search was 
for Catholics, and somewhat later, when the search 
was for Puritans and Separatists, the Privy Coun- 
cil brought severe pressure upon the justices to 
fulfil these duties, and numerous prosecutions were 
brought by them. In Middlesex during the reign of 
James I. the indictments averaged eighty-five per 
year for rehgious offences, and sometimes at one 
session there were as many as one hundred and 
fifty persons indicted/ 

The justices were constantly called upon to act in 
special emergencies or to give special relief. If a 
man's thatched cottage were burned, the nearest 
justice might authorize him to make an appeal to 
his neighbors for help to rebuild; if a whole village 
or town suffered from a more extensive fire, the 
justices in their sessions quartered the homeless peo- 
ple in various parishes, announced a subscription, 
and, calling constables and leading villagers before 
them, exhorted them to liberal voluntary gifts, and 
appointed a subcommittee to administer the funds 
for relief; if a pestilence appeared, a tax-rate for 
immediate assistance was levied, and the justices 
supported the sick and enforced the quarantine; 
if food became scarce and high-priced the justices 
forbade its export from the county or conversion 

1 Middlesex County Sessions Rolls, II., III.; Hamilton, Devon- 
shire Quarter-Sessions, 27, 74, etc.; Cal. of State Pap.,Dom., 1633- 
1634, p. 531. 


into malt, and even announced a maximum market- 
price for it. When weavers or other artificers were 
out of work the justices set to work to induce mas- 
ters to employ them or merchants to buy their 
goods, or, as a last resort, levied a rate for their sup- 
port. If news came of the capture of a n-umber of 
English sailors or merchants by Barbary pirates, 
collections were taken up by the justices of the 
maritime counties for their redemption. In all 
such exigencies it was the justices of the peace 
who were expected to tide over the special tem- 
porary difficulty or need. 

Besides the ancient regulative duties of the jus- 
tices, and besides those that were definitely given 
them by successive statutes, they were constantly 
subject to the commands and instructions of the 
Privy Council. In 1592, soon after the remodelling 
of the commission, a circular letter was sent by the 
Privy Council to certain commissioners in each 
county requiring them to call a special meeting of 
all justices of the peace, at which the oath of office 
and the. oath of supremacy must be taken by each, 
or they must retire from the commission of the 
peace.* This seems to have been preparatory to 
a more strict discipline and oversight of their ac- 
tions, for communications from the council now 
became more frequent and more drastic. 

* Hamilton , Devonshire Quarter-Sessions , 36, 48 ; Nichols, Flist. 
of the Poor Law, 252; Hist. MSS. Commission, Report XIV., 
App. IV., 42. 


In requiring them to fulfil their duties as magis- 
trates the Privy Council spoke categorically in the 
name of the king in a constant series of letters, 
couched often in such harsh terms of reproof as to 
make it hard to realize that the justices were gentle- 
men of rank and dignity, fulfilling laborious services 
practically without compensation. In 1598 vig- 
orous letters were sent to the various counties call- 
ing the attention of the justices to the recently 
enacted poor law, and requiring them to see it put 
into execution.^ From this time forward to the 
outbreak of the civil war the pressure of the council 
on the justices became stronger and stronger. In 
January, 1631, a Book of Orders was issued by the 
Privy Council giving instructions in greater detail 
to the justices as to their duties, especially in regard 
to the poor law, and requiring them to make re- 
ports every three months to the sheriffs, who were 
to transmit these reports to the justices of assize, 
who were in turn to send them to certain members 
of the Privy Council deputed for the purpose. The 
judges of assize were also to report directly to the 
king if they learned of the neghgence of any of the 
justices of the peace. ^ The Book of Orders was 
reissued from time to time and its requirements 
followed up. 

An attempt was made by these means to intro- 
duce a system of "thorough" in the affairs of local 
government during the period of the personal gov- 

* Leonard, The Poor Laiv, 143. ' Ibid., 158, etc. 


ernment of Charles I., analogous to that attempted 
in the higher ranges of government by Wentworth, 
Laud, and their fellow-members of the Privy Council. 
The great instruments of this plan were the justices 
of the peace, acting within the limits of their re- 
spective coimties, carrying out the manifold duties 
imposed upon them by law, imder constant pressure 
from the Privy Council and the king. After even 
this partial emmieration of the services of the jus- 
tices of the peace and of the supervision kept over 
them, one can readily appreciate the feeling of the 
justices of Nottingham who complained that they 
had '' little rest at home or abroad." ^ 

The centre of gravity of local government in Eng- 
land was in the county. The power which put its 
machinery in motion was that of the central gov- 
ernment; but the actual administration was in the 
hands of the sheriff, the lord-lieutenant, the coroner, 
and the justices of the peace. The county bounded 
the sphere of activity of all these officials. The 
commission of any group of justices named the 
county in which they were to exercise their functions, 
and outside of its boundaries all their powers dropped 
from them. The coroner could not hold an inquest 
outside of his own county, and even the lord-lieu- 
tenant could exercise his military functions only 
within the shire or shires named in his commission. 
When, in 1603, James I. rode southward from Edin- 
burgh on the news of the death of Elizabeth, and 

^ Cal. of State Pap., Dom., 1631-1633, p. 18. 


crossed the border at Ben\'ick, he was met by the 
sheriff of Northumberland and escorted by him to 
the borders of Durham, where he was met by the 
sheriff of that county, and so from shire to shire 
through the whole length of England till he reached 

The basis of representation in Parliament was the 
county : the counties formed the districts for all the 
circuit courts; national taxation was largely dis- 
tributed by coimties, and, as has been seen, local 
jurisdiction and administration were largely in the 
hands of county officials. 



NEXT below the county as a political sub- 
division of England came the hundred, or 
wapentake, as it was called in the northern shires. 
One of the oldest political units of the country, per- 
haps the very oldest, it had become the least impor- 
tant of all. Its ancient significance as the primary 
organization of the community for judicial purposes 
disappeared long before the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century, leaving only a desultory practice of 
holding a sheriff's semi-annual " tourn" through the 
hundreds of the shire; and some traditional pay- 
ments of fees to the noblemen who held the hundred 
court as a "liberty," or to the crown. Apart from 
its existence as a unit of jurisdiction, the hundred 
was still put to some use as a subdivision of the 
county for purposes of taxation, for military organi- 
zation and service, for the preservation of order, and 
as the sphere of activity of the high-constable/ The 
high-constables were, indeed, the only officers of the 

* Lambarde, Constables, § 25; Cal. of State Pap., Dom., 1637, 
pp. 39, 104. 



hundreds, one or more being chosen annually by 
the justices of the peace in quarter-sessions from the 
same class of rural gentry as we have already seen 
furnishing the county local officials. The hundred, 
for some reason, took but slight root in colonial soil, 
though it was established in a few of the colonies, 
and in such places many of its English fimctions 

An ancient Latin law writer says, ''England is 
divided into counties, coimties are divided into hun- 
dreds (which in some parts of England are called 
wapentakes), and hundreds are again subdivided 
into villas.'"'^ By using the general word villas 
(" vills ") he evaded one of the greatest difficulties in 
the description of English local government in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the confusing 
and conflicting use of terms for the smallest sub- 
division of civil government. Shall we use parish, 
town, township, manor, or tithing when we speak of 
a neighborhood organized for the affairs of petty 
government ? All these terms are used abimdantly 
in the records of the time and to a great extent 
are used indiscriminately. 

This lack of consistency is quite natural and ex- 
plicable. In the first place, local organization as it 
existed at this time was the residuum of several suc- 
cessive systems of custom and law, and contained 

* Howard, Local Constitutional History of the U. S., 272- 
286; Wilhelmi, Local Institutions of Maryland, 60, n. 5. 
' Fortescue, De Laudihus Legum AnglicE, chap, cxxiv. 


survivals from the nomenclature of each. "Town- 
ship" or "town" was a term belonging to a far- 
distant Anglo-Saxon past, and had been long ob- 
scured by the later institution of tithings and the 
still later manors. Secondly, the union of church 
and state, the mutual interpenetration of the eccle- 
siastical and civil systems, served to complicate the 
matter still further by confusing the word "parish" 
with terms which applied in a non - ecclesiastical 
sense to the same little group of people and the 
same tract of land. 

Of all these terms, three — manor, town (or town- 
ship) , and parish — are the most usual. A manor was 
a group of inhabitants and the land they occupied 
(usually a single village) , so far as these people were 
connected with and dependent upon a certain "lord 
of the manor," who had various rights over the 
people and their lands. Aside from his position as 
landlord, the most important of these rights was 
that of holding a court-baron and a court-leet and 
view of frank-pledge. 

Various powers and activities had long gathered 
around these petty courts, but the whole group of 
manorial rights and duties of jurisdiction and admin- 
istration was, in 1600, fast becoming an obsolete and 
insignificant institution. Yet the terms connected 
with it had worked themselves inseparably into lo- 
cal life. Courts-baron were held in but few places, 
and almost solely for the purpose of making land 
transfers; courts-leet were held only infrequently 


and irregularly, many lords of manors who possessed 
the right exercising it but once a year or less fre- 
quently ; the whole system of frank-pledges had long 
gone into desuetude. Grants of manorial powers, 
''court-leet, court-baron, and view of frank-pledge," 
were made in several of the colonial charters; but 
these institutions showed little inclination to renew 
in America a vitality they had lost in England. 

The English word town or township is the nearest 
equivalent to the Latin word villa or vill, which is a 
generic term used in the records, without very ex- 
act connotation, for one of those country villages 
in which the rural population of England was dis- 
tributed, including the land connected with the vil- 
lage. Town and township meant the same thing, 
except when the former was applied to an urban 
community. Over and over again to the same 
locality first the term *' town " and then "township " 
is applied;^ and a careful search fails to find any 
distinction drawn between them. In the north of 
England the term town or township seems to have 
been especially familiar and frequently used as a 
subdivision of some of the other local units ;^ and 
it was in common use everywhere as a synonym for 
manor or parish. 

While all these terms meet us frequently in the 
records of the seventeenth century, the term parish, 
notwithstanding its ecclesiastical connotation, was, 

^ West Riding Sessions Rolls, passim. 
^ Fishwick, Hist, of Preston, 2. 


in fact, superseding all others as the most usual ap- 
pellation to give to the unit of local government. 
Terms strictly applicable to other phases of the 
local organization were apt to be applied to the par- 
ish. For instance, we hear of the ''constable of a 
parish," ^ although that officer was an official of a 
township; proprietors of ''free" and "copy-hold" 
lands of a parish are spoken of, though those terms 
properly applied only to a manor ; the same is true 
of an order for a court to be held every three weeks 
in certain parishes,^ the term "court " being properly 
manorial. These expressions show the tendency of 
the time to substitute the term "parish" for more 
exact terms applied to the local governing body in 
its different aspects. It was the "parish" that was 
usually sued, taxed, and fined, that received property 
by bequest, and that was ordered by the govern- 
ment to perform various duties. 

Our colonial forefathers, according to the locality 
of their origin or the particular phase of local gov- 
ernment that applied to their new conditions, used 
sometimes one term, sometimes another ; but in this 
study of English conditions the parish and the offi- 
cers whose sphere of action was the parish may be 
taken to include all that is necessary, with the un- 
derstanding that our use of the term parish is broad, 
in conformity with seventeenth -century usage. 

The knowledge of the boimdaries of the parish 

* ArchcBological Revieiv, IV., 344. 
2 Saalkeld. Reports, III., 98. 


was kept alive by the traditional ceremony of per- 
ambulation. From time to time, usually once a 
year, a procession was formed which went the rounds 
of the outer boundary, stopping from time to time 
at well-marked points for various commemorative 
ceremonies. In pre - Reformation timxcs the cere- 
mony was a religious one, the priest leading and the 
parishioners following with cross, banners, bells, 
lights, and sacred emblems, successive points being 
blessed and sprinkled with holy water. ^ When re- 
ligious processions were forbidden at the Reforma- 
tion, this ceremony came under the condemnation of 
the law ; and Queen Elizabeth found it necessary, in 
order to perpetuate the useful civil element in it, to 
direct by proclamation a certain form of renewal of 
the processions. "The people should, once in the 
year, at the time appointed, with the curate and 
substantial men of the parish, walk about the par- 
ish, and at their return to the church make their 
common prayers. And the curate in the said per- 
ambulation was, at certain convenient places, to 
admonish the people to give thanks to God in the 
beholding of His benefits, and for the increase and 
abundance of his fruits upon the face of the earth, 
with the saying of the one hundred and third 
Psalm." ^ 

The custom survived in this or other forms,^ 
because there were no surveyed boundaries, and re- 

* Burn, Ecclesiastical Law, II., 133, 134. ^ Gibson, Cac?^:r, 213. 
^ Shillingfleet, Ecclesiastical Cases, 1., 244. 


liance had to be placed on marked stones and 
trees, hill-tops, watercourses, and such indications, 
interpreted and defined only by human tradition. 
In some remote districts it is still preserved. 
From the practice of performing the perambula- 
tion in rogation week it was often called "the ro- 
gation," and conversely rogation da3^s were some- 
times called ''gang- days" * In the seventeenth 
century, as the men who afterwards practised it in 
New England and Virginia must have remembered, 
it was still a festivity. In the church- wardens' ac- 
counts for the parish of St. Clements, Ipswich, in 
1638, is the item ''ff or bread and beare given to the 
boyes when they wente the boundes of the par- 
ishe, 125."^ Boys were taken as those whose life 
and memory would naturally be the longest, and the 
poorer boys w^ere often especially included as a 
treat. In Chelsea, Middlesex, at a somewhat later 
time, a more official feast is suggested by the entry : 
** Spent at the perambulation dinner, £3 105." ^ 

No material obstacle was allowed to interfere 
with the progress of the perambulators. They 
could, by law, enter all dwellings on the boundary 
and pass through and even break down all enclos- 
ures which lay across it. Private persons whose 
houses lay in the line of march of the perambula- 
tors sometimes provided food and drink for them, 

* Burn, Ecclesiastical Law, II., 133. 
' East Anglian, IV., 2d series, 5. 
■"* Toulmin Smith, The Parish, 473. 


and this became so customary that efforts were 
made, though unsuccessfully, to enforce this cus- 
tom by law/ 

In describing the officers of the parish we pass 
from the class of country gentr}^ from which the 
sheriffs, coroners, justices of the peace, and high- 
constables were drawn, to a group of lower social 
rank. In the towns they may have been of some- 
what higher or at least more varied status, but in 
the rural parishes the officers were of ver\^ humble 
position. In the invaluable description of England 
written by Harrison in the latter part of the reign 
of EHzabeth, from which we have had occasion to 
quote so frequently, the author says: ''The fourth 
and last sort of people in England are day-labourers, 
poor husbandmen, and some retailers (which have 
no free land), copyholders, and all artificers, as tail- 
ors, shoemakers, carpenters, brickmakers, masons, 
etc. . . . This fourth and last sort .of people therefore 
have neither voice nor authority in the common- 
w^ealth, but are to be ruled and not to rule others: 
yet they are not altogether neglected, for ... in 
villages they are commonly made churchwardens, 
sidesmen, aleconners, now and then constables, 
and many times enjoy the name of head bor- 
oughs." ^ 

The most active and conspicuous officer of the 
parish or township was the constable, or petty con- 

* Btim, Ecclesiastical Law, II., 133, 

* Harrison, Description oj England (Camelot ed.), 13. 


stable, as he is often called, to distinguish him from 
the high-constable of the hundred. He was appoint- 
ed by the court-leet, where this was still held ; in 
other cases by the steward of the lord of the man- 
or, the vestry of the parish, or, as a part of their 
residuary duties, by the justices of the peace. The 
regular form of oath of the constable may be quoted 
in some fulness to show the nature of his duties. 
''You shall swear that you shall well and truly serve 
our sovereign lord, the king, in the office of a con- 
stable. You shall see and cause his majesty's peace 
to be well and duly kept and preserved, according 
to your power. You shall arrest all such persons 
as in your sight and presence shall ride or go armed 
offensively, or shall commit or make any riot, affray, 
or other breach of his majesty's peace. You shall 
do your best endeavor to apprehend all felons, bar- 
rators, and rioters, or persons riotously assembled; 
and if any such offenders shall make resistance you 
shall levy hue and cry and shall ptursue them until 
they be taken. You shall do your best endeavors 
that the watch in and about your town be duly kept 
for the apprehending of rogues, vagabonds, night- 
walkers, eavesdroppers, and other suspected per- 
sons, and of such as go armed and the like. . . . You 
shall well and duly execute all precepts and war- 
rants to you directed from the justices of the peace 
of the county or higher officers. In time of hay or 
com harvest you shall cause all meet persons to 
serve by the day for the mowing, reaping, and getting 


in of corn or hay. You shall, in Easter week, cause 
your parishioners to chuse surveyors for the mending 
of the highways in your parish. . . . And you shall 
well and duly, according to your knowledge, power, 
and ability, do and execute all things belonging to 
the office of a constable so long as you shall continue 
in this office. So help you God." ^ 

The constable, among the other duties prescribed 
by his oath, had to "raise the hue and cry" when it 
was demanded — that is to say, if any one were as- 
saulted or robbed and appealed to the constable of 
the parish in which the injury occurred, the constable 
must summon out his neighbors, whether it were by 
day or by night, to seek the culprit. If not successful 
he must give notice to the constables of the adjacent 
parishes, who were similarly to raise the hue and 
cry in their neighborhoods. If the offender was not 
then discovered the person who suffered the loss 
might bring suit for its recovery from the whole 
himdred in which the attack occurred.^ 

In practice hue and cry was a very ineffective 
method of capturing ill-doers. Harrison says: "I 
have known by my own experience felons being 
taken to have escaped out of the stocks, being res- 
cued by others for want of watch and guard, that 
thieves have been let pass, because the covetous 
and greedy parishioners would neither take the 
pains nor be at the charge to carry them to prison, 

^ Dalton, The Country Justice, chap, clxxiv. 
2 Ibid., chap. Ixxxiv. 


if it were far off ; that when hue and cry have been 
made even to the faces of some constables, they have 
said : ' God restore your loss ! I have other business at 
this time.' " ^ To prosecute petty offenders, to force 
laborers to serve during harvest-timxC, to sign their 
testimonials when they wished to leave the parish, 
and to see that innkeepers refused no travellers, 
gave the constable considerable duties of local su- 

The constable must, with the advice of the minister 
and of one other inhabitant of the parish, whip any 
rogue, vagabond, or sturdy beggar who appeared 
in the parish, and then send him, with a testimonial 
to the fact of the whipping, back to his native par- 
ish. The word rogue was a comprehensive term as 
used in the laws of Elizabeth, including wandering 
sailors, fortune-tellers, collectors of money for char- 
ities, fencers, bearwards, minstrels, common players 
of interludes, jugglers, tinkers, peddlers, and many 
others, and adequate whipping of them and starting 
them in the direct route homeward must have been 
no sinecure.^ 

A contemporary testimonial with which such a 
person was provided may not be without interest 
as an illustration of the manners of the time. ''A. 
B., a sturdy rogue of tall stature, red-haired and 
bearded, about the age of thirty years, and having 
a wart neere under his right eie, born (as he confess- 

^ Harrison, Description of England (Camelot ed.), 247. 
2 jLambarde, Duties of Constables, § 45. 


eth) at East Tilberie, in Essex, was taken begging at 
Shorne in this county of Kent, the tenth of March, 
1598, and was then and there lawfully whipped 
therefor, and hee is appointed to goe to East Tilberie 
aforesaid, the direct way by Gravesend, over the 
river of Thamise ; for which hee is allowed one whole 
day, and no more at his peril; subscribed and sealed 
the day and yeare aforesaid. By us " (signed by the 
minister, the constable, and a parishioner).^ It is 
no wonder that constables are advised '4n every 
corner to have a readie hand and whip." 

The constable was also the warden of such arms 
and armor as each parish kept, or was supposed to 
keep, in obedience to the militia requirements. A 
writer of Elizabeth's time says: ''The said armour 
and mimition likewise is kept in one several place of 
every town, appointed by the consent of the whole 
parish, where it is always ready to be had and worn 
within an hour's warning. . . . Certes there is almost 
no village so poor . . . that hath not sufficient furniture 
in a readiness to set forth three or four soldiers, as 
one archer, one gunner, one pike, and a billman." ^ 

An account of the armor kept in a parish in Mid- 
dlesex is entered in the vestry accounts of the year 
1583. ''Note of the armour for the parish of Ful- 
ham: first, a corslet, with a pyke, sworde, and 
daiger, furnished in all points, a gyrdle only except- 
ed. Item, two hargobushes, with flaskes and touch- 

* Lambarde, Duties of Constables, § 45. 

^ Harrison, Description of England (Camelot ed.), 224, 


boxes to the same; two morryons; two swords, and 
two daigers, which are all for Fulham side only. 
All which armore are, and do remayne in the posses- 
sion and appointment of John Palton, of Northend, 
being constable of Fulhamsyde the yere above 
wrytten." ^ One may easily imagine the nature and 
value of such accoutrements, and of the villagers 
who were occasionally pressed into the service to 
wear them. Mouldy and BuUcalf, Wart, Shadow, 
and Feeble, and Falstaff's whole company of ** can- 
kers of a calm world and a long peace ' ' may readily 
enough have been drawn from the life. 

These duties the constable must fulfil at his own 
initiation or upon the recurrence of the occasion for 
them. But the great part of his duties were those 
imposed upon him from above in special cases — that 
is to say, in carrying out the warrants and precepts 
of the justices of the peace, or occasionally of the 
coroner, sheriff, lord-lieutenant, or still higher offi- 
cials. If the justice of the peace was the man-of -all- 
work, as has been said, of the government of the 
time, the constable was the tool and instrument with 
which he worked. The constable was required to 
arrest all persons who were to be bound over by 
the justices to keep the peace, and all felons and 
other ill - doers for whom a warrant had been 
issued, and to bring them before the justices into 
jail. And woe be to him if he allowed such a pris- 
oner to escape. The justices might construe his 

* Toulmin Smith, The Parish, 473. 


inactivity as participation in the crime of the pris- 
oner, or he might be fined to the extent of all his 

The constable must carry out the lesser sentences 
of the justices, inflicting the punishment ordered and 
collecting the fines imposed. For instance, when a 
certain poor woman, Elizabeth Armistead, was con- 
victed of petty larceny at the West Riding Sessions, 
in 1598, it was ordered by the justices that "she shall 
no we be delivered to the constable of Keerbie, and 
he to cause her to be stripped naked from the middle 
upward and soundly whipped thorowe the said town 
of Keerbie, and by hym delivered to the constable 
of Kirkby and he to see like execution within his 
town, and the next markett att Weatherbie to de- 
lyver her to the constables of Weatherbie, and they 
to see like punishment of her executed thorow their 
towns." ^ 

In assessing and collecting taxes and in obtaining 
information the constables were at the command of 
county and hundred authorities. They were used 
as the active or at least the most available inter- 
mediaries between the justices of the peace and the 
individuals whom it was desirable to reach. ^ They 
were by no means ideal instruments; many were 
extremely ignorant — as, for instance, the constable 
of Collingbourne Ducis, who in 1650 prays to be 

^ Lambarde, Duties of Constables, § 15. 

^ West Riding Sessions Rolls, 58. 

' Hist. MSS. Commission, Report XIV., App., pt. iv., 28, 67. 


relieved from his office because he can neither read 
nor write, and is obHged to go to the minister and 
divers others to get his warrants read/ They were 
constantly being fined by the justices for neglect of 
their duties or for inefficiency.^ 

The most important remaining ancient parochial 
officers were the church -wardens. Their position 
and fimctions were not so purely ecclesiastical as 
the name would suggest. Their duties included, it is 
true, the care of the parish church and the provision 
of other material requirements for religious services. 
But they also included many things which were 
quite clearly temporal or civil in their nature. 
Coke says of their position, " The office is mere tem- 
poral." ^ That is to say, the church-wardens rep- 
resented the parishioners, not the minister or the 
ecclesiastical authorities. They formed a quasi-cor- 
poration for the holding of the personal property 
that belonged to the parish, and could sue and be 
sued as trustees for the parish.^ 

The almost invariable custom was for the body 
of the parishioners at a vestry meeting in Easter 
week to choose two church-wardens for the next year. 
But neither the number nor the mode of appoint- 
ment was at this time quite fixed. During the first 
half of the seventeenth century clergymen were in- 

* Hist. MSS. Commission, Report I., 121 

2 Middlesex Comity Records, II., 36, 41, 139. 
^ Lambarde, Duties of Constables, §§ 57-60. 

* Lambarde, Duties of Church-wardens, § i. 


clined to magnify their office, and the canons of 
1603 and 1639 gave to the minister of the parish 
some control over the choice of the wardens; al- 
though whenever the rights of the parishioners were 
asserted and an estabHshed custom shown, the 
courts upheld this custom against ecclesiastical en- 

The financial powers of the church-wardens were 
considerable, though exercised in most cases along 
with the constable, and in many only after the ap- 
proval of the whole body of parishioners at a vestry 
meeting. They had, of course, the duty of provid- 
ing for the repairs of the church and of taxing their 
neighbors for this purpose. Unless previously set- 
tled upon by the parishioners themselves, they levied 
and collected the local taxes already described as 
being imposed by the justices upon the parishes for 
various purposes. They had the power to seize and 
sell the property of such parishioners as refused or 
neglected to pay the amounts assessed upon them. 
Many of the parishes also received considerable 
sums by gift or bequest, which were invested, and 
the income expended for the poor or other parish 

Property in land and houses also belonged to some 
parishes, apart from the minister's glebe, and the 
renting and accounts fell within the church-warden's 
duties. Various means of combining the securing of 
fimds with much neighborhood merriment, even in 
* Toulmin Smith, The Parish, 78-87. ^ Ibid., chap, v., App. 


those days of militant Ptiritanism, were used b}^ the 
parish authorities, such as "church-ales," ''pigeon- 
holes," Hock-tide games, Easter games, processions, 
and festive gatherings, at all of which farthings, 
pence, and shillings were gathered/ Such accoimts 
of these various fimds and the record of the thousand 
and one petty expenditures for local purposes as 
were kept were usuall}^ the work of the church- 
wardens and made their office one of real local im- 
portance. In fact, a whole C3^cle of parish life passes 
before us in these accoimts. "Paid the carpenters 
55. for a barrow to carry the people that died of the 
sickness to church to bury them." ''For a coat for 
the whipper, and making, 35." "For too payre of 
glovys for Robin Hode and Mayde Maryan, 3(f. " 
" Received for the May -pole, £1 45. " " Paid Robert 
Warden, the constable, which he disbursed for car- 
rying away the witches, 115." ^ 

The church - wardens, under a law of Queen 
Mary,^ with the constables and parishioners, select- 
ed the surveyors of highways ; and imder two statutes 
of Queen Elizabeth ^ every year appointed two men 
who should be named "the distributers of the pro- 
vision for the destruction of noisome fowle and ver- 
mine." A tax was levied upon the parishioners to 
provide these officers with funds, and it then became 

* Various quotations in Toulmin Smith, The Parish, chap, vii., 
§ 12. ' Ibid., 465-472. 

' 2 and 3 Philip and Mary, chap. viii. 

* 8 Eliz., chap, xv., and 14 EHz., chap. xi. 


their duty to pay bounties for the heads and eggs 
of crows, rooks, starlings, and many other birds. 
A long list of four-footed beasts is also included in 
the definition of "vermine," and rates ranging from 
a shilling for a fox to a halfpenny for a mole were 
established.* The mole-catcher was a regular em- 
ploye of some parishes.^ 

Finally, the church- wardens were ex-officio over- 
seers of the poor. By the great poor law of 1597 
the church- war dens, along with four overseers of the 
poor appointed each year at Easter by the justices, 
had the whole charge of the relief of the poor.^ 
They were to estimate the annual costs and to tax 
their fellow-townsmen for this purpose. From this 
time forward taxation for the poor under the con- 
trol of parish officers became the most important, 
as it was the heaviest, of local charges. The con- 
stant efforts of the Pri\y Council, through the jus- 
tices of the peace, to enforce the poor law, kept 
church-wardens and other overseers of the poor up 
to their duties and engaged them in constant con- 
ferences with the justices and in making reports, as 
well as in the actual work of poor relief. 

A vestry clerk existed in some parishes, and later 
such an office became quite general and influential, 
but at this period the records were generally pre- 
served by one of the church-wardens or by the min- 

^ Lambarde, Office of Distributers , etc., 92. 
2 Hist. MSS. Commission, Report III., App., 331; V., App., 
597. ^ Leonard, The Poor Law, 76, etc. 

VOL. I. 22 


ister. The vestry - clerk is of special interest as 
being apparently the prototype of the town-clerk 
in the American colonies/ 

Various other petty officers existed, but their 
duties were either identical with those already de- 
scribed, or insignificant, or so exceptional as not to 
reward inquir}^ and description here. Such were the 
beadle, sexton, haywards, ale-conners, waymen, way- 
w^ardens, sidesmen, synodsmen, swornmen, quest- 
men, and perhaps some others.^ 

Such being the officers whose sphere of activity 
was the parish, it remains to describe the general 
assembly of the people of the parish, the vestr}^ 
This name arose apparently from the practice of 
meeting in the part of the church in which the vest- 
ments w^ere kept. Ordinarily, all who held house or 
land in a parish, no matter on w^hat tenure, were 
members of the vestry of the parish. All inhabi- 
tants, therefore — land -owners, free tenants, copy- 
holders, laborers occupying cottages, even those who 
held land in the parish but lived somewhere else — 
were by law at liberty to attend the meetings of the 
parishioners and to join in the exercise of their 

Such a body is of great interest.^ Those officials 
whose positions and functions have been discussed 

* Howard, Local Constitutional History of the U. S., 39. 

^ Discussed in Channing, Town and County Government in the 
Englisli Colonies (Johns Hopkins University Studies, II.), No. i'^ 
p. 18, etc. ' Coke, 5 Report, 66, 67 


in the two preceding chapters drew all their powers 
from the crown, and the duties that they performed 
were imposed upon them by statute law or by royal 
instruction. The same is true of a considerable part 
of the activity of constables and church- wardens. 
But the vestry of the parish existed as a body which 
within certain limits had powers of government of 
its own, and could impose duties upon parish offi- 
cials, appoint committees and require ser^^ices from 
them, adopt by-laws which bound all the inhabi- 
tants, and impose taxes upon the landholders of 
the parish which they were boimd to pay. 

Yet evidences of anything like regular meetings of 
the parishioners are, in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, so scanty as to leave considerable doubt 
as to whether they occurred at all generally. They 
are not mentioned in the legal text -books of the 
time, which w^re, of course, written by men who 
looked from above downward and were not inter- 
ested in local institutions as such. A few accounts 
of such vestry meetings remain,^ but the action 
taken at them was apparently restricted to the choice 
of parish officers, the adoption of by-laws for the 
carrying out of necessary taxation and other dis- 
tribution of burdens, and for matters connected 
with the building or repair of the church. The at- 
tendance probabty consisted only of the more sub- 
stantial members of the parish and of those who 

^ E.g., those of Steeple Ashton, quoted in Toulmin Smith, 
■She Parish, chap, vii., § 12, 


held office and must present reports. The parish 
life resided more in the activity of its officials than 
of its assembly. Vigorous local self-government 
could not have existed without leaving more dis- 
tinct traces than it has done, and our study 
of the political system of the time will have 
made it clear that much local independence was 
not suited to the period of the Tudors and Stu- 

Such was the provision for the carrying out of 
those matters of local concern in the county, the hun- 
dred, and rural parish which were not performed by 
immediate officials or commissioners of the central 
government. It is evident that in the early seven- 
teenth century the motive power for almost all gov- 
ernment, local as well as general, emanated from the 
national government — from the king, Privy Coun- 
cil, and Parliament. It was a vigorous, assertive, 
centralized administration, eager to carry out its 
will and enforce order, uniformity, and its own ideas 
upon all persons and bodies in England. No shade 
of doubt of their own wisdom or reluctance to over- 
ride local or individual liberty of action troubled the 
thought or weakened the resolution of the Tudor 
and Stuart sovereigns and their ministers. Nor 
were their Parliaments antagonistic to the principle 
of centralized government, even when they wished 
to curb unrestrained royal control of it. Strong gov- 

^ See Toulmtn Smith, The Parish, chaps, ii., iv., vii.; and 
Gneist, Self -Government, book III., chap, ix., § 115. 


ernment was in entire consonance with the spirit of 
the time. 

Yet this ambitious central government was work- 
ing with very inadequate and unsuitable instru- 
ments. Instead of a body of efficient and responsible 
officials, directly and immediately dependent upon 
their superiors, receiving wages and hoping for pro- 
motion, such as successful centralized governments 
have usually possessed, the king and cotmcil made 
use of the old and cumbrous machinery of local self- 
government as they found it. It was quite unsuit- 
ed to their purposes. Sheriffs, coroners, high and 
petty constables, church-wardens, even justices of 
the peace, had come down from a period when gov- 
ernment was of quite another and more primitive 
character, in which the central power counted for 
far less, local powers for far more. Most of the 
local officials were unpaid, and the others were de- 
pendent on insignificant fees for such money reward 
as they obtained. The labors imposed upon them 
were performed only from a sense of duty, loyalty, 
or necessity, not as a fair return for remuneration 

There was little provision for a wise selection of 
office-holders, so far as regarded their suitability to 
the objects of the central administration. The 
county and htmdred officials were taken from one 
restricted class, the rural gentry ; the township and 
parish officials were chosen by their neighbors from 
their own number. In a word, the government of 


Elizabeth, James, and Charles was trying to carry- 
on an ambitious, centralized administration by 
means of an unpaid, untrained, and carelessly se- 
lected group of local officials, whose offices had been 
established and whose characters had been formed 
for a system of much more limited powers and of 
more independent local life. 

At certain times, as in the period of personal gov- 
ernment of Charles I., something like a hierarchy 
seemed about to develop itself, in which the Privy 
Council, speaking in the name of the king, gave in- 
structions to the justices of assize, the justices of 
assize to the sheriffs and justices of the peace, the 
justices of the peace to the high-constable of the 
hundred, and the high-constable to the petty con- 
stable, church-wardens, and other township or par- 
ish officials. But no such regularity was attained; 
the council frequently communicated directly with 
the justices of the peace, the sheriff with the parish 
officers ; and the administration became no more sys- 
tematic as time went on. 

The primary governmental division of the coun- 
try, the shire, was the sphere of much activity ; but 
it was not automatic, and acted wholly or almost 
wholly in response to pressure from above. The 
ultimate unit of local government, the parish, town- 
ship, or manor, had many and interesting functions, 
but they were for the most part either declining 
survivals of earlier powers, or new forms of ac- 
tivity imposed upon it from above. It had the 


necessary officials and the political rights to enable 
it to do a great deal, but it showed few signs of vig- 
orous life. Thus government in England in the 
early seventeenth century was so organized that at 
the top was an energetic national government, mid- 
way an active but dependent county organization, 
and at the bottom the parish with a residuimi of 
ancient but unutilized powers of self-government. 

No greater contrast could be noted in the posi- 
tion of men than that between the EngHshman at 
home, in the early seventeenth century, and the 
Englishman who emigrated to America. Almost 
all the conditions that surrounded the former were 
reversed in the case of the latter. The pressure of 
central government was immediately and almost 
completely withdrawn. Many of the most urgent 
activities of government in England, such as the 
administration of the poor law and the restriction 
of vagabondage, almost ceased in the colonies. The 
class of settled rural gentry from which most local 
officials were drawn in England did not exist in 
America. On the other hand, the wilderness, the 
Indians, the freedom from restraint, the religious 
liberty, the opportimity for economic and social rise 
in the New^ World made a set of conditions which 
had been quite unknown in the mother-country. 

As a result, the colonists had to make a choice 
from among the institutions with which they were 
familiar at home, of those which were applicable to 
their new needs. Of such institutions of local gov- 


ernment in England there were, as has been seen, a 
considerable number and variety. Naturally, some 
functions which had been prominent at home were 
reduced to insignificance in the colonies ; some which 
had been almost forgotten or had remained quite 
undeveloped in England gained unwonted impor- 
tance in America. Almost every local official or 
body which existed in England reappeared in some 
part or other of the English colonies, although often 
with much altered powers and duties. All the fa- 
miliar names are to be foimd, though sometimes with 
new meanings and always more or less considerably 
adapted to new conditions. Moreover, the choice 
was in the main restricted to familiar English insti- 
tutions, for in the great variety of system in differ- 
ent parts of the colonies there was scarcely an official 
or body which did not have its prototype in Eng- 

In this as in other matters, the foundations of 
America were laid in European conditions and oc- 
currences. European needs sent explorers on their 
voyages of discovery, and European ambitions 
equipped adventurers for their expeditions of con- 
quest; the commercial projects of England, France, 
Holland, and Sweden led to the establishment of the 
principal New- World colonies; the economic exi- 

* Howard, Local Constitutional History of the U. S. ; Channing, 
Town and County Government in the English Colonies; Adams, 
Germanic Origin of New England Towns. Cf. also Tyler, Eng- 
land in America; Andrews, Colonial Self -Government; Greene, 
Colonial Coynmonwealth {American Nation Series), IV., V., VI. 


gencies and the political and religious struggles of 
Europe sent a flood of settlers to people them; the 
institutions of Spain, France, Holland, and England 
all found a lodgment in the western continent; 
and those of England became the basis of the great 
nation which has reached so distinct a primacy in 



NO general bibliography of the whole field of this vol- 
ume exists, although two comprehensive publications 
(both described below) have special bibliographic sec- 
tions: The Cambridge Modern History has full lists of books, 
less well analyzed than the systematic and useful bibliog- 
raphies in Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generate. 


Several general histories of Europe covering the field 
of this volume have been published in recent years or are 
now appearing. The most important are: Lavisse et 
Rambaud, Histoire Generate (12 vols., 1 893-1 901), of which 
vols. III. and VI. apply most nearly to the subjects in- 
cluded in this book; The Cambridge Modern History (to be 
in 12 vols., 1902-), especially vols. I.-IV. ; H. H. Helmolt, 
History of the World, translated from the German (to be 
in 8 vols., 1 90 2-), especially vols. I. and VII. Helmolt 
differs from all other general histories by its arrangement 
in accordance with ethnographical and geographical divi- 
sions rather than historical epochs; he pays also especial 
attention to economic phenomena. The following three 
volumes in the series entitled Periods of European History, 
give an account of this period in somewhat shorter form: 
Richard Lodge, The Close of the Middle Ages, i2'/2-i4g4 
(iQoi); A. H. Johnson, Europe in the Sixteenth Century^ 

1650] AUTHORITIES 317 

I4g4-Tjg8 (1897); H. O. Wakeman, Europe, i^gS-iyiS 

Two excellent histories of the period of discovery are 
O. F. Peschel, Geschichtc des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen 
(1858), and Sophus Ruge, Geschichtc des Zeitalters der 
Entdeckungen (1881). More recent works are S. Giinther, 
Das Zeitalter der Entdeckungen (1901), and Carlo Errera, 
UEpoca delle Grandi Scoperti Geografiche (1902). 


The seemingly well - established view that Columbus 
when he discovered America was in search of a direct 
western route to the East Indies and Cathay, and that he 
had been led to form this plan by correspondence with 
the Florentine scholar Toscanelli, was attacked by Henry 
Vignaud, La Lettre et la Carte de Toscanelli sur la Route 
des Indes par V Orient (1901), and in a translation and ex- 
tension of the same work under the title Toscanelli and 
Columbus (1902). Vignaud considers the letter of Tos- 
canelli a forgery, and the object of Columbus in making 
the voyage the discovery of a certain island of which he had 
been informed by a dying pilot. His work elicited many 
replies in the form of book reviews or more extended works. 
Of the former may be mentioned those of E. G. Bourne 
{American Historical Review, January, 1903) and Sophus 
Ruge (Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft fur Erdkunde zu Berlin, 
1902) ; among the latter, the monumental work, Christopher 
Columbus, His Life, His Work, His Remains, by John 
Boyd Thacher (I., 1903). Few scholars seem to have been 
convinced by the arguments of Vignaud, but the whole 
question must be considered as still undetermined. The 
last word is E. G. Bourne, Spain in America {The American 
Nation, III., 1904). 


A large number of the contemporary accounts of the 
early expeditions of discovery and adventure are pub- 


lished by the Hakluyt Society. These volumes are pro- 
vided with introductions of great value and with numerous 
maps, glossaries, and other material illustrative of the 
time. They cover a long period of time and include 
many lines of travel not referred to in this book ; but many 
of them refer to the early expeditions to the southeast, 
west, and northwest which had much to do with the 
discovery and exploration of America. Some of the most 
important publications of this character in the series 
are the following: Select Letters of Columbus, edited by R. 
H. Major (II. and XLIIL, 1849 and 1870); Narratives of 
Early Voyages to the Northwest, edited by Thomas Rundall 
(V., 1 851); India in the Fifteenth Century, edited by R. H. 
Major (XXII., 1859) ; The Commentaries of the Great Afonso 
Dalboguerque, edited by Walter de Gray Birch (LI 1 1., 
LV., LXII., LXIX., 1875, 1880, and 1883); The Voyage of 
John Huyghen van Linschoten to the East Indies, edited by 
A. C. Burnell and P. A. Tiele (LXX. and LXXI., 1884); 
The Journal of Christopher Columbus, edited by C. R. 
Markham (LXXXVL, 1892); The Discovery and Conquest 
of Guinea, Written by Gomes Eannes de Azurara, edited 
by C. R. Beazley and Edgar Prestage (XCV. and C, 1896 
and 1900); The First Voyage of Vasco da Gama, edited by 
E. G. Ravenstein (XCIX., 1898); Texts and Versions of 
John de Piano Carpini and William de Ruhruquis, edited 
by C. R. Beazley (1903). 

The standard editions of the narratives of the early land 
travellers in eastern Asia are those of the Recueil de Voyages 
et de Memoires publie par la Societe de Geographic, including 
(IV., 1839) Relations des Voyages de Guillaume de Rubruk, 
Jean du Plan Carpin, etc. (edited by M. A. R. d'Avezac) ; 
and Schafer et Cordier, Recueil de Voyages et de Documents 
pour Servir a I'Histoire de la Geographic, especially "Voyages 
en Asie . . . du . . . Odoric de Pordenone" (edited by Henri 
Cordier) . English translations of Rubruquis and Pordenone 
also appear as an appendix in Travels of Sir John Mandeville, 
edited by A. W. Pollard (1900). Sir John Mandeville is 
worthless as an historical source, as his genuine material is 

1650] AUTHORITIES 319 

all drawn from these sources and from Marco Polo, and 
there is no probability that he ever travelled in the East. 
His own additions are usually mendacious. The standard 
edition of Marco Polo is that of Sir Henry Yule (2 vols., 
187 1). This has just been reprinted with additional 
editorial notes by Henri Cordier, under the title. The 
Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian, Concerning the 
Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, etc. (1903). A valuable 
collection of narratives of early discovery is M. F. de 
Navarrete, Coleccion de los Viages y Descuhrimientos (5 vols., 
1825-1837). Those of particular interest to England are 
in Richard Hakluyt, Principal N avigatio7is , Voyages, and 
Discoveries (1589, reprinted 1903, to be in 12 vols.). 


Among the standard histories of mediaeval and modem 
geography are Joachim Lelewel, Geographic du Moyen 
Age (4 vols., 1852-1857); Vivien de St. Martin, Histoire de 
la Geographic et des Decouvertes Geographiques (1873); M. 
F. Vicomte de Santarem, Essai stir VHistoire de la Cos- 
mographie pendant le Moyen Age (3 vols., 1849-1852); and 
C. R. Beazley, The Dawn of Modern Geography (vols. I. 
and II., 1897 and 1901). A full account of the history 
and development of maps, especially of the form known as 
portolani, is to be found in the two works translated from 
the Swedish of A. E. Nordenskiold : Facsimile Atlas to the 
Early History of Cartography (1889), Periplus, an Essay on 
the Early History of Charts and Sailing-Directions (i^vol. 
and an atlas, 1897); G. Wauverman, Histoire de VEcole 
Carta graphique Beige et Anversois du 16^ Steele (2 vols., 


The state of geographical knowledge at the beginning 
of the period of explorations is well described in C. 
R. Beazley, Introduction to the volume of the Hakluyt 
Society's publications for 1899. F. Kunstmann, Die 
Kenntniss Indiens in XV. Jahrhunderts (1863); and G. H. 
Pertz, Der Aelteste Verstich zur Entdeckung des Secweges nach 


Ostindien (1859), describe two important phases of that 

The fullest and best work on the relations between the 
Orient and the Occident, the trade-routes, the objects of 
trade, and the methods of its administration is Wilhelm 
Heyd, Geschichte des Levantehandels im Mittelalter (2 vols., 
1879). There is a French translation of this work (1885- 
1887), which is later and has been corrected by the author. 
There is a valuable article on ancient trade in Encyclo- 
poodia Bihlica, IV., 48, etc. Much that is suggestive and 
informing concerning Eastern commerce and trade-routes 
can be found in Sir W. W. Hunter, History of British 
India, I. (1899), and on the products of the East in Sir 
George Birdwood, Report of Corn-mis sioners for the Paris 
Exhibition of i8y8 (1878). Some information concerning 
trade organization in the Mediterranean Sea and through- 
out Europe can be found in William Cunningham, An Essay 
on Western Civilization in Its Econoinic Aspects (2 vols., 
1898-1900). H. H. Helmolt, General History, VII., pt. 
i., pp. 1-139, has a long and valuable chapter on "The 
Economic Development of Western Europe Since the 
Time of the Crusades," by Dr. Richard Mayr. John Fiske, 
The Discovery of America (2 vols., 1892), contains an 
interesting popular account of the trade conditions of the 
time and of those explorations which were directed west- 

The formation of the later commercial companies is 
described and the provisions of their charters analyzed in 
P. Bonnassieux, Les Grandes Compagnies de Commerce 
(1892), This work is somewhat superficial, being based, 
apparently, entirely on works in the French and Latin 
languages, and using secondary materials where primary 
sources are attainable; but it stands almost alone in its 
subject, and has, therefore, considerable importance. 

Naval architecture is described in Auguste Jal, Archeologie 
Navale (2 vols., 1840); and J. P. E. Jurien de la Graviere, 
Les Marins du XV. et dti XVI . Steele (1879); Sir William 
Stirling-Maxwell, Don John of Austria (2 vols., 1883). 

1650] AUTHORITIES 321 


The best general account of Italy during the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries is in Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire 
Generate, III., chaps, ix. and x., and IV., chap. i. For 
the intellectual and artistic history of Italy as a whole, 
J. Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in 
Italy (i860, English translation, 2 vols.), is the most 
satisfactory work. J. A. Symonds, Renaissance in Italy 
(7 vols., 1875-1886), takes up many sides of the period. 
A good general history of Venice in small compass is H. F. 
Brown, Venice: a Historical Sketch of the Republic (1893). 

M. G. Canale, Storia del Commercio dei Viaggi, . . . 
degV Italiani (1866), and Storia della Republica di Genoa 
(185 8-1 864), contain much information about Mediterra- 
nean trade and voyages, especially of the Genoese. 

The commerce of Venice is described in H. F. Brown, 
Calendar of State Papers, Venetian, Introduction, I. (1864). 

Of the f ondaco and the German merchants in Venice a 
description is given in H. Simonsfeld, Der F ondaco dei 
Tedeschi in Venedig (2 vols., 1887). Many additional 
sources are in G. Thomas, Capitolare dei Visdomini del 
Fontego dei Todechi (1874). A valuable article on the same 
subject is W. Heyd, " Das Haus der deutschen Kaufieute 
in Venedig," in Historische Zeitschrift, XXXII. , 193-220. 

The standard history of the rise of the Ottoman Empire is 
J. W. Zinkeisen, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reichs in Europa 
(6 vols., 1840). More modern works are A. La Jonquiere, 
Histoire de r Empire Ottoman(iSSi) ; andG.F. Herzberg,6'£?5- 
chichte des Byzantischen und des Osmanischen Reiches (1883). 

An excellent work on the fifteenth century is Edwin 
Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story 
of the Capture of Constantinople by the Tttrks (2 vols., 1903). 
For later history, see L. von Ranke, Die Osmanen in XVI. 
und XVII. Jahrhundert (1827). A short and good popular 
account is A, Lane-Poole, Turkey (1886). Good sections 
are devoted to the Ottoman Turks in the Cambridge 
Modern History (I., chap, iii., by J. B. Bury) ; and in Lavisse 


et Rambaud, Histoire Generale (III., chap, xvi., and IV., 
chap, xix.), by A. Rambaud. 


A short but excellent histor^^ of Portugal is H. M. Stephens, 
The Story oj Portugal (1891, Stories of the Nations Series). 

The interesting character and significant work of Prince 
Henry the Navigator have made him the subject of many 
biographies. One of the earliest of these was G. de Veer, 
Prinz Heinrich und seine Zeit (1864). More detailed is 
R. H. Major, Life oj Prince Henry the Navigator (1868, 
abbreviated edition, 1874). K number of other biographies 
were called forth by the interest in the five hundredth anni- 
versary of Henry's birth, which was coincident with the 
foiu: hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America. A 
partial list of these is as follows : C. R. B^dizley , Prince Henry 
the Navigator (1890) ; G. Wauverman, Henri le Navigatcur et 
V Academie Portngaise de Sagres (1890) ; J. P. O. Martins, Os 
Filhos de Dom Joao I. (1891) ; M. Barradas, O Infante Dom 
Henrique (1894) ; A. Alves, Dom Henrique o Infante (1894) ; 
J. E. Wappaus, Untersnchiingen ilher . . . Heinrich (1842). 
Two valuable essays, Prince Henry the Navigator and The 
Demarcation Line of Pope Alexander III., by E. G. Bourne, 
are republished in his Essays in Historical Criticism (1901). 

The most important original source for the early ex- 
plorations of the Portuguese is Gomes Eannes de Azurara, 
Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea (2 vols., 
Hakluyt Societ3^ 1896 and 1899). The voyages of Cada- 
mosto are published by the Haklu3^t Society. Long ex- 
tracts from the accounts of the voyages of Diego Gomez 
are given in C. R. Beazle^^ Prince Henry, 289-298, and in 
R. H. Major, Prince Henry, 288-298. A number of 
original documents illustrative of this period are con- 
tained in Alguns Documenios do Archivo Nacional da Torre 
do Tombo Acerca das Navagacoes e Conquistas Portugiiezas 
(1892). An account of the latest stages of the Portuguese 
advance to India is given in F. C. Danvers, The Portuguese 


in India (1894). An almost contemporary account of the 
explorations is J. Barros, Decadas da Asia (first published 
1552, etc.); the first five books have been translated into 
German b}'* E. Feust (1844). 


The great collection of sources for the history of Spain 
is the Coleccion de Documentos Ineditos para la Historia de 
Espaiia (112 vols., 1842-1S95). Matters more particularly 
relating to the subjects of this book appear in vols. L, 
LI. The proceedings of the cortes are published by the 
Academia de la Historia, Cortes de los Antiguos Reinos de 
Leon y de Castilla (4 vols., 1 861-1884). The records of 
those called by Ferdinand and Isabella are in vol. IV. 
(1882). A careful analysis and introduction to these 
records is by M. Colmeiro (2 vols., 1 883-1 884). 

The three most important chronicles of Spain contem- 
porary with Ferdinand and Isabella are Hernando del 
Pulgar, Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos (1780); and Andr6 
Bemaldez, Historia de los Reyes (1878). 

The institutions of Spain are described in detail in two 
admirable works: J. M. Antequera, Historia de la Legislacion 
Espanola (1874) ; and F. M. Marina, Ensayo Historico-critico 
sobre la Antigua Legislacion . . . de Leon y Castilla (1834). 
There is a short but systematic and valuable account of 
Spanish institutions in The Cambridge Modern History 
(I., chap, xi., by H. B. Clarke). The most satisfactory gen- 
eral description of the changes in Spanish institutions 
during the reign of the Catholic sovereigns is J. H. Marie jol, 
L'Espagne sous Ferdinand et Isabelle: le Gouvernement, les 
Institutions, et les Mceurs (1892). William H. Prescott, 
The Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic (various 
editions), is less uncritical in character, and consequent- 
ly more trustworthy, than the other works of this author. 
An important study of the personal character of Isabella 
is Clemencin, Elogio de la Reina Catohca, in Real Acad- 
voL. I. — 23 


emia de la Historia, Memorias, IV. An important and 
suggestive study of this period is W. Maurenbrecher, 
Spanien unter den Katholischen Konigen: Studien und 
Skizzen zur Geschichte der Reformationszeit (1857). Of 
somewhat similar character is W. Havemann, Darstel- 
lungen aus der inneren Geschichte Spaniens wahrend des 
XV., XVI, und XVII. J ahrhiinderts (1850). The more 
purely political history is best given in M. Danvilla y 
Collado, El Poder Civil en Espaiia (6 vols., 1885-1887). 
The expulsion of the Jews is described in the third volume 
of J. Amador de los Rios, Los Judios de Espaiia y Portugal 
(3 vols., 1875-1876); that of the Moriscos in H. C. Lea, 
The Moriscos of Spain, their Conversion and Expulsion 
(1901). Much valuable description of this period is also 
given in H. C. Lea, Chapters from the Religious History of 
Spain (1890). Mr. Lea has also an important article," The 
Policy of Spain towards the Indies " {Yale Review, August, 
1899). The military history of Ferdinand's reign is given 
in P. Boissonade, Reunion de la Navarre a la Castille (1893), 
and in the large general histories of Spain, such as A. 
Canovas del Castillo, Historia General de Espaiia (1894), 
and Vicente de la Fuente, Historia General de Espaiia (30 
vols., 1850-1867). 

The organization of the Casa da Contractacion is fully 
described in Primeras Ordenanzas . . . de la Contractacion 
de las Indias, by J. de Veitia Linage (1672, "made Eng- 
lish" by Captain John Stevens, under the title The Spanish 
Rule of Trade to the West Indies, 1702). It is also describee 
in Richard Haklujrt, Principal Navigations, IV. Economic 
conditions are further described in two books by K. Habler, 
Geschichte derFtigger'schen Handlung in Spanien (iSgy) ; Die 
Wirtschaftliche Blute Spaniens im XVI. Jahrhundert und ihr 
Verfall (1888). 


The great mass of contemporary writings for this period 
is published partly in the great Collection de Documents 

i6so] AUTHORITIES 325 

Inedits (about 280 vols., 1835-), partly in other collections, 
such as that of Michaud et Poujoulat, Correspondance 
d' Orient, 1 830-1 831 (7 vols., 1835), and partly as individual 
publications. The royal enactments down to 15 14 are best 
edited in Ordonnances des Roys de France (21 vols., 1723- 
1849). The Recueil General des Anciennes Lois Francaises, 
edited b}^ Isambert and Taillandier (29 vols., 1822-1833), 
extends later in time but is inferior in fulness and accuracy. 

A short general history of France during this period is 
A. J. Grant, The French Monarchy, 14S3-1789 (2 vols., 
1900). Of the excellent work, Lavisse, Histoire de France, 
the latest section to appear is V., pt. i., b}^ H. Lemonnier, 
which covers the period 149 2-1 547. 

For the commercial history of France valuable works are 
H. Pigeonneau, Histoire du Commerce de la France (2 vols., 
1887-1889); Pierre Clement, Histoire de la Vie et de V Ad- 
ministration de Colbert (2 vols., 1846) ; G. Fagniez, " Le Com- 
merce de la France sous Henri IV.," in Revue Historique, 
May-June, 1881; and F. Boiu-quelot, Etude sur les F aires 
de Champagne (Academic des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 
de rinstitut de France, series II., vol. V., 1865). For 
the commercial companies in Canada, see H. P. Biggar, 
Early Trading Companies of New France (1901). 


^ The best history of the Netherlands is P. J. Blok, His- 
tory of the People of the Netherlands (1892, in part trans- 
lated by Ruth Putnam, 3 vols., 1898-1900); J. L. Motley, 
Rise of the Dutch Republic (many editions), still has value 
and much interest, but the work is uncritical and based on 
inadequate study of the soiurces. C. M. Davies, History 
of Holland and the Dutch Nation (3 vols., 1 851), is of special 
value for its attention to the internal organization of the 
Dutch nation. Robert Fruin, Geschiedniss der Staatsin- 
stellingen in Nederland (edited by H. T. Colenbrander, 
1 901), is a much more detailed and modern work, the 


first two books of which refer to the period of this volume. 
In it are to be found abundant references to the sources 
of Dutch institutions. Douglas Campbell, The Puritan in 
Holland, England, and America (2 vols., 1892), is a viva- 
cious work including much description of conditions in 
Holland and England diu-ing this period. It is, however, 
written in a spirit of controversial exaggeration which 
reduces its historical value to small proportions. The 
long and valuable paper "William Usselinx," by J. F. 
Jameson (American Historical Society, Papers, II.- 1888), 
contains much information concerning political and com- 
mercial conditions in the Netherlands. There is a short 
description of the municipal organization of Holland in an 
article by J. F. Jameson in the Magazine of American 
History, VIII., 315-330. The charter of the Dutch West 
India Company is in E. B. O'Callaghan, History of New 
Netherland, I., App. A (1855) ; and in Samuel Hazard, State 
Papers, I. 

The general history of Germany for this period can be 
studied from the following volumes of the series entitled 
Allgemeine Geschichte in Einzeldarstellungen — viz., F. von 
Bezold, Geschichte der deutschen Reformation (1890); G. 
Droysen, Geschichte der Ge genre formation (1893) ; G. Winter, 
Der dreissigjahrigen Krieges (1893); B. Erdmannsdorfer, 
Deutsche Geschichte von westfdlischen Frieden bis Friedrichs 
der Grossen (2 vols., 1892). The last work contains in its 
first book a valuable r6sum6 of the results of the Thirty 
Years' War and the condition of Germany at the time. 
E. Armstrong, The Emperor Charles V. (2 vols., 1902), is 
an excellent account of Germany during the middle years of 
the sixteenth century. Anton Gindely, The Thirty Years' 
War (English translation, 2 vols., 1884), is a standard 
work on the Thirty Years' War. 

The religious changes of the time are described in a 
scholarly but extremely dry fashion in W. Moeller, History 
of the Christian Church, HI. (English translation, 1900). 
L. von Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Re for- 
mation, translated into English (3 vols., 1845 -1847), is 

i6so] AUTHORITIES 327 

a well - known work. More detailed accounts of the 
Anabaptists are given in H. W. Erbkam, Geschichte der 
Protestantischen Sekten in Zeitalter der Reformation (1848); 
L. Keller, Geschichte der Wiedertaufer (1880); and Max 
Goebel, Geschichte des Christlichen Lehen in der rheinsch- 
westph'dlischen evangelischen Kirche (3 vols., 1 849-1 860). 


Bibliography. — The standard bibliographical guide in 
early English history is Charles Gross, Sources and Literature 
of English History from the Earliest Times to about 1485 

General Works. — The best general history of the 
reign of Henry VII. is W. Busch, England under the Tudors 
(I., Henry VII., 1895); o^ "the earty part of the reign of 
Henry VIII., J. S. Brewer, The Reign of Henry VIII. 
(2 vols., 1884); J. A. Froude, History of England from 
the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Armada (12 vols., 
185 6- 1870). Notwithstanding the criticism to which this 
work has been subjected it remains the most detailed, 
serious, and valuable history of England in the sixteenth 
century. A. F. Pollard, England under Protector Somerset 
(1900), is a valuable siirvey of the period 1 547-1 551. S. 
R. Gardiner, History of England from i6oj to 1642 (10 
vols., 1 883-1 884), History of the Great Civil War, 1 642-1 64g 
(4 vols., 1 886-1891), and History of the Commonwealth and 
Protectorate (3 vols., 189 4- 1903), form a series of great 
value, covering more than half of the seventeenth century. 
Henry Hallam, Constitutional History of England (3 vols., 
1829), is serviceable. L. O. Pike, Constitutional History 
of the House of Lords (1894), and A. V. Dicey, The Privy 
Council (1895), are valuable monographs. 

Sources. — ^The sources for English history during this 
period are to be found principally in the Acts of the Privy 
Comtcil (in progress 1 S go-) , Calendars of State Papers (about 
300 vols.). Statutes of the Realm, I2jj-i/ij (11 vols.), 


Journals of the House of Lords (16 vols, to 1 700) , Journals of 
the House of Commons (13 vols, to 1700), Sir S. D'Ewes, 
Journals of the Period of Elizabeth (1682), J. Rushworth, 
Historical Collections (1703), Historical Manuscripts Com- 
mission, Reports (106 parts), Deputy Keeper of the Rolls, 
Public 'Records, y Reports (64 vols.), and in a vast number 
of detached publications of contemporary journals, cor- 
respondence, etc. 

Many of the most important statutes and other state 
papers are collected in G. W. Prothero, Select Statutes 
and other Constitutional Documents of the Reigns of Eliza- 
beth and James /., i^jg-162^ (1894), and S. R. Gardiner, 
Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution, 1628- 
1660 (1889). Each of these collections has an admirable 
introduction discussing the history and institutions of the 
period. Other collections illustrating the constitutional 
history of the time are George B. Adams and H. Morse 
Stephens, Select Documents of English Constitutional History 
(1901); and Mabel Hill, Liberty Documents (1901). The 
following collections of sources also illustrate social condi- 
tions: C. W. Colby, Selections from the Sources of English 
History (1899); Elizabeth K. Kendall, Source-Book of 
English History (1900); Ernest P. Henderson, Side-Lights 
on English History (1900). 

Commercial History. — The Merchants Adventurers are 
discussed and illustrated in W. E. Lingelbach, Laws and 
Ordinances of the Merchant Adventurers (1902), and The 
Internal Organization of the Merchant Adventurers (1902); 
in G. Schanz, Englische Handelspolitik (2 vols., 1881); 
Richard Ehrenberg, England and Hamburg (1896); and 
Charles Gross, The Gild Merchant (2 vols., 1890). The 
commercial companies generally are described in Cawston 
and Keane, The Early English Chartered Companies (1896), 
a book of slight value and limited extent of information 
apart from the fact that it is practically the only work 
covering the field. David Macpherson, Annals of Com- 
merce (4 vols., 1802), is a book of old-fashioned learning on 
the subject. For the East India Company there is a large 

1650] AUTHORITIES 329 

literature. Some of the soiirces are The Charters of the 
East India Company (no date or place of publication); 
Birdwood and Foster, The First Letter Book of the East 
India Company, 1600-16 ig (1893); Henry Stevens, Dawn 
of British Trade to the East Indies (1886). Of more general 
histories the most recent and one of the best is Beckles 
Wilson, Ledger and Sword (1903). 

Events in England affecting the early history of Virginia 
are related and the original papers £iven in Alexander 
Brown, Genesis of the United States (2 vols., 189 1). Valua- 
ble articles by H. L. Osgood bearing on this general subject 
are : " England and the Colonies * '{Political Science Quarterly, 
II.); "Political Ideas of the Puritans" {ihid., VI., Nos. 

1, 2); and **The Colonial Corporation" {ibid., XL, Nos. 

2, 3). See also his American Colonies in the Seventeenth 
Century (2 vols., 1904). On general commercial conditions, 
William Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and 
Commerce (revised ed., 1904). 

Religious History. — W. E. Griffis, The Pilgrims in 
their Three Homes (1898); Daniel Neal, History of the 
Puritans (4 vols., 173 2-1 7 38); W. A. Shaw, The English 
Church During the Commonwealth (1900); E. Eggleston, 
Beginners of a Nation (1897), gives interesting and un- 
familiar details of the religious sects in England. A. B. 
Hinds, The England of Elizabeth (1895), is a careful study 
of the origins of English Puritanism on the Continent. 
G. P. Gooch, English Democratic Ideas in the Seventeenth 
Century (1898), throws light on the various sects. William 
Sewel, History of the Quakers (1725), is a standard histor}^ 
on the origin of that body, 

C. G. Walpole, The Kingdom of Ireland (1882), describes 
the "Plantation of Ulster'" and the conditions that led 
to the emigration of the Scotch-Irish. Of value also are 
W. E. H. Lecky, England in the Eighteenth Century (8 
vols., 1878-1890); J. P. Prendergast, The Cromwellian 
Settlement of Ireland (1865); and H. Green, The Scotch- 
Irish in America (1895). 

English Local Government. — For local government 


the admirable bibliography is Charles Gross, Bibliography 
of British Municipal History, Including Gilds and Parlia- 
mentary Representatives (Harvard Historical Studies, V., 
1897). Contemporary legal treatises concerning county 
government are Michael D alt on, Ofjicium Vicecomitum, 
or the Office and Authority of Sheriffs (1623), and The 
Country Justice (1681); William Greenwood, Authority, 
Jurisdiction, and Method of Keeping County Courts, Courts- 
Leet, and Courts -Baron, etc. (1659); William Lambarde, 
Eirenarcha, or the Office of the Justices of Peace (1588); A. 
Fitzherbert, L'Office et Authorities de Justices de Peace 
(1514), often quoted as "Crompton,'* an editor who en- 
larged the original work in 1583; John Wilkinson, Office 
and Authority of Coroners and Sheriffs (1628). All these 
appear in numerous editions, the above dates being, as far 
as ascertained, those of the earliest editions. 

Few records of county government exist to any large 
extent, and very few have been printed. Among them 
are three bodies of quarter-sessions records. John Lister, 
West Riding Sessions Rolls, i^gy-1602 (Yorkshire Archse- 
ological and Topographical Association, Records Series, 
III., 1888); J. C. Jeaffreson, Middlesex County Records, 
i54g-i6o8 (Middlesex County Records Society, 1886-1892) ; 
Ernest Axon, in Record Society of Lancaster and Cheshire, 
Manchester Sessions, XLH. Some material for Wiltshire 
and Worcestershire is published in the Historical Manu- 
scripts Commission, Reports, VI., VII. 

A. H. A. Hamilton, Quarter-Sessions . . . chiefly of Devon 
(1878), contains much on the subject. E. M. Leonard, The 
Early History of the English Poor Relief (1900) , is a scholarly 
study involving much description of local administration 
and the central and local governments. 

For the parish, Richard Bum, Ecclesiastical Law (2 
vols., 1763); William Sheppard, Offices and Duties of Con- 
stables, Borsholders, Tythingmen, etc. (1641); William 
Lambarde, Duties of Church-wardens and Duties of Con- 
stables, affixed to his Eirenarcha (1581); George Meriton, 
Duties of Constables (1669). 

1689] AUTHORITIES 331 

For the actual life of the parish, recourse must be had to 
the few bodies of such records that are printed separately 
or in local histories. Some of these are as follows: J. L. 
Glasscock, Records of St. MichaeVs Church (1882); Collyer 
and Turner, Ilkley, Ancient and Modern (1885); W. T. 
Woodbridge, Rushbrook Parish Registers (1903); "W. O. 
Massingberd, History of Ormshy (1893); J. P. Earwaker, 
Constables' Accounts of Manchester (3 vols., 1891-1892); 
John Nichols, Illustration of the Manners ^ etc., of England 
from Accounts of Church-wardens (1797). 

The book that has exerted the most influence on opinion 
on this subject is Toulmin Smith, The Parish (1854). It 
is, however, written in a spirit of controversy, many of its 
interpretations of the statutes are quite incorrect, and it 
must, therefore, be used with great caution. Its most 
valuable contents are its references to sources, and extracts 
from local records. Rudolf Gneist, Self -Government, Com- 
munalver fas sung tind Verwaltungsgeschichte in England 
(187 1), is almost the sole work covering the whole subject, 
but it is quite unsatisfactory, being drawn from a com- 
paratively small group of sources. George E. Howard, 
Local Constitutional History of the United States (Johns 
Hopkins University Studies, extra vol. IV., 1889), and The 
Development of the King's Peace {Nebraska University 
Studies, I., 1890); Edward Channing, Town and County 
Government in the English Colonies of North America (Johns 
Hopkins University Studies, II., No. 10), and some other 
articles by Herbert B. Adams and others in the same 
series, include considerable information on local conditions 
in England, though their primary reference is to America. 


Adelantado, Spanish, 106. 

A.frica, voyage of Doria, 50; 
Portuguese explorations, 63- 
70; internal trade (141 5), 
64, 65; beginning of slave- 
trade, 67, 68; maps, 73. 

Albuquerque in Indies, 70. 

Alexandria, trade, 24, 36. 

Alfonso v., promotes explora- 
tion, 6^, 68. 

Alva in Netherlands, 183. 

America, discovery, a step in 
development, 39; discovery 
inevitable, 70. See also Col- 
onies, Colonization. 

Amish, Anabaptists, 175. 

Anabaptists, doctrines, 171- 
173; persecuted, 173-175; 
Miinster revolt, 173; growth, 
174; divisions, 175; refuge in 
America, 176; bibliography, 


Antwerp, rise, 129. 

Apprentice, Act of, administra- 
tion, 283, 284. 

Asia, incentive of exploration, 
4, 6, 44; Columbus thinks he 
reaches, 5; commodities for 
Europe, 9-19; commodities 
from Europe, 19; local trade, 
19; antiquity of European 
trade, 20, 21; trade-routes, 
22-27; interruption of trade, 
31-38; desire for new routes, 
39; friars in, 45, 46; Polos in, 
46-49; bibliography, 318- 
320. See also East Indies. 

Astrolabe, introduction, 57. 
Atlantic, superstition, 51. 
Audiencias, Spanish, 105. 
Augsburg, decay, 129; peace 

(1555) > 1 89-191; renewed 

(1648), 194. 
Azores, discovery, 50, 65. 

Banalites in France, 120. 
Baptists. See Anabaptists. 
Barclay, Robert, as a Quaker, 

Barrow, Separatist, 222, 223. 
Behaim, Martin, cosmographer, 

in Portugal, 72. 
Bianco, Andrea, map, 73. 
Bibliographies, general, 316- 

3 2 6 ; on England, 3 2 7-3 2 9 ; on 

English local government, 


Blanco, Cape, discovered, 66, 

Boehmists, 175. 

Bourse, origin of name, 126, 

Boyador, Cape, barrier, 65; 
passed, 66. 

Brazil, origin of name, 17; dis- 
covered, 70. 

Browne, Robert, Separatist, 

Cabot, John, belief in Asian 
landfall, 5; on spice -trade, 
12; patent, 135. 

Cabot, Sebastian, voyages, 7. 

Cabral, voyage, 70. 

Cadamosto, voyage, 42, 68. 

Calvinism, established, 170; 




and Augsburg peace, 190; 
aggressive force, 190; rec- 
ognized in Germany, 194, 

Camaldolese map, 74. 

Canada, feudal privileges, 120; 
Catholic orthodoxy, 178. See 
also New France. 

Canaries rediscovered, 50. 

Cape Verd Islands discovered, 

Caravel, description, 75. 

Casa da India, 133. 

Casa de Contractacion at Sev- 
ille, 89, 134; bibliography, 


Castile, condition (1474), 81, 
8^. See also Spain. 

Catholicism, Spanish orthodoxy 
and intolerance, 96-101; In- 
quisition, 97, 98, 177, 182; 
Spanish royal control, 106, 
107; French orthodoxy, 118; 
in French colonies, 159, 178; 
under Henry VIII., 202; and 
Elizabeth, 203; disabilities, 
204-208; and James I., 208- 
212; popular opposition, 209, 
212; colonization, 210, 213- 
215; and Charles I., 213; 
under Parliament, 213; en- 
forcement of laws against, 
214, 283, 284. See also Ref- 

Cavailham, exploration, 8. 

Charles I., and Catholicism, 
211, 213; and Puritans, 225- 
227; civil war, 230; executed, 
230; and civil rights, 259; 
ship-money, 269. 

Charles II., restoration, 234; 
and Quakers, 235. 

Charles V., religious edicts in 
Netherlands, 180, 181; and 
German Protestantism, 188- 

Chartered commercial compa- 
nies, and colonization, 123, 
164, 165; governmental re- 
lation, 135, 160, 162-164; 

number and nationality, 136- 
139; Merchants Adventurers, 
140-142; English East India, 
143-146; types, 147-160; Vir- 
ginia, 147-152; Dutch West 
India, 152-156; New France, 
156-160; characteristics, 160- 
167; period, 160; general 
movement, 161; monopoly, 
161; consolidated capital, 
161; political powers, 162; 
financial failure, 165 ; popular 
opposition, 166; natural dif- 
ficulties, 166; importance, 
167; Swedish West India, 
192, 193; bibliography, 320, 

Charters. See Chartered com- 
mercial companies. 

China, Polo in, 46, 47; awak- 
ened interest, 48. See also 

Christian IV. in Thirty Years' 
War, 191. 

Chronometers, introduction, 58. 

Church of England, Elizabeth's 
creation, 201; artificial sys- 
tem, 217; Puritan reforms, 
2 1 7-2 2 1 ; breach with Puri- 
tanism, 223-227; Arminian, 
224; Puritan control, 228- 
230; restoration, 234. 

Church - wardens, temporal 
functions, 304; choice, 304; 
financial powers, 305; secur- 
ing funds, 305; accounts, 
306; appointing power, 306; 
overseers of poor, 307. 

Civil rights, English contest, 

Classes, English rural gentry, 
277; fourth, 297. See also 

Colonies, English, immunities, 
150; influence of religion on, 
176, 177; other influences, 
176; Privy Council controls, 
248; and English political 
struggle, 257; hundred in, 



291 ; manor in, 293 ; choice of 
local government, 313; bibli- 
ography, 329. See also Col- 

Colonies, Dutch, 187. See also 
Colonization, New Nether- 

Colonies, French. See Can- 
ada, Colonization. 

Colonies, Spanish, importance 
to Spain, 83; Inquisition, 98; 
home control, 88, 89, 105, 
109, 112 - 114; courts and 
administration, 105, 106; 
church, 107, 177; local self- 
government, III, 112; sla- 
very, 113; trade regulation, 
133. See also Colonization. 

Colonization, Spain utilizes 
Portuguese experiences, 77; 
commercial influence, 124; 
by chartered companies, 151, 
153, 154, 158-160, 164, 165, 
167; religious incentive, 168- 
170, 176, 210, 227, 235; 
other motives, 168, 169; 
Huguenot, 178; Dutch, 187; 
German interests, 198; Eng- 
lish Catholic, 210, 213-215; 
Puritan, 227; Cavalier, 230; 
Quaker, 236; Scotch-Irish, 
238. See also Colonies. 

Columbus, Christopher, pur- 
pose, 4 ; belief in Asian land- 
fall, 5; Polo's influence, 49; 
in Portugal, 69, 76; bibliog- 
raphy on objective, 317. 

Commerce. See Trade. 

Compass, use (1400), 55-57. 

Congregationalism, EngUsh Sep- 
aratists, 221-223; estabHsh- 
ed in England, 230. 

Constable of parish, appoint- 
ment, 298; oath and duties, 
298; hue and cry, 299; 
whipping rogues, 300; war- 
den of arms, 301; as in- 
strument of county officers, 
302, 303; character, 303. 

Constantinople, fall, $^. 

Coroner, EngUsh, elected, 272; 
duties, 272. 

Corregidores, 90. 

Cortereal, Gaspar, voyage, 6. 

Corvees in France, 120. 

Council of the Indies, 88. 

Councils, royal Spanish, 87- 
89; their ineffectiveness, 89. 
See also Privy Council. 

County government, English, 
261-289; sheriff, 261-270; 
county court, 266; parlia- 
mentary election, 267; as- 
sizes, 268, 283; lord-lieuten- 
ant, 270-272; coroner, 272; 
justices of the peace, 274- 
288; administrative unit, 288, 
289; centralized administra- 
tion, 310; inadequate ma- 
chinery, 311; character of 
officials, 311; hierarchy, 312; 
no automatic activity, 312; 
bibliography, 330. 

Courts, Spanish, 105; French 
feudal, 119; English high, 
243; county, 266; assizes, 

268, 283; quarter-sessions, 

269, 279; court-leet, 292; 
court-baron, 292. 

Cross-staff, 57. 
Custos roiulorum, 280. 

Dante, belief in round earth, 

Denmark, chartered compa- 
nies, 135-139. 

Diaz, Bartholomew, voyage, 8, 
60, 69. 

Diaz, Dinis, voyage, 66. 

Discovery. See Explorations, 

Doria, Tedisio, voyage, 50. 

Drugs, Oriental trade, 16. 

Dunkers, Anabaptists, 175. 

Dye-wood, Oriental trade, 17. 

Eannes, Gil, voyage, 66. 
Earth. See Geography. 



East India Company, Dutch, 
charter, 143; sphere, 153, 

East India Company, English, 
charter, 143; sphere, 144; 
privileges, 144-146; organi- 
zation, 146; territorial foot- 
hold, 164; bibliography, 328, 

East Indies, reached by Gama, 
70; Iberian trade monopoly, 
70, 132; chartered compa- 
nies, 136; English and Dutch 
trade, 142, 143. See also 
Asia, East India Company. 

Economic conditions. See 

Edward VI. and Catholics, 203. 

Elizabeth, creates Anglicanism, 
201; and Catholics, 203-208; 
and Puritanism, 218-223. 

England, Portuguese treaties, 
61; trade activity, 123, 143; 
early trade patents, 135; 
chartered commercial com- 
panies, 135-139; Merchants 
Adventurers, 140-142; trade 
with India, 142, 143; East 
India Company, 143-146; 
Virginia Company, 147-152; 
hatred of Spain, 163; Dutch 
immigration, 183; Reforma- 
tion, 200; religious parties 
(1600), 200; established 
church, 201; Catholics as 
separate body, 202; treat- 
ment of Catholics, 203-213; 
development of Puritanism, 
216-221; Separatists, 221- 
223; religious breach, 223- 
225; oppression of Puritans, 
2 2 5-2 2 7 ; Puritan emigration , 
227; Puritan and parlia- 
mentary control, 228-230; 
Cavalier emigration, 230; new 
sects (1650), 231; Quakers, 
231-235; monarchy, 240- 
243; courts, 243, 266, 268, 
269, 279, 283, 292; Privy 
Council, 244-248; control of 
Ireland, 246-249; Parliament 

and crown, 249-257; suffrage 
(1600), 251; civil rights, 258- 
260; county government,2 6i ; 
sheriff, 261-270; lord-lieu- 
tenant, 270-272; coroner, 
272; justices of the peace, 
274-289; rural gentry, 277; 
importance of county gov- 
ernment, 289, 290; hundred, 
290; parish, 291-310; charac- 
ter of local government 
(1600), 329-331; bibliog- 
raphy on general history, 
327, 328; bibliography on 
trade, 328; bibliography on 
colonies, 329; bibliography 
on religious history, 329; 
bibliography on local govern- 
ment, 329-331. See also 
Colonies, Colonization. 

Ephemerides, 58. 

Equator, superstition, 51 ; cross- 
ed, 68. 

Europe, bibliography, 316. See 
also Colonization, Explora- 
tions, Trade, Voyages, and 
countries by name. 

Explorations, Cavailham and 
Paiva (i486), 8; incentive of 
Asian, 44; Franciscan friars, 
45, 46; Polo, 46-49; great 
period, 60; dawn, 60; Port- 
uguese, 62-70; bibliography 
on period ,316-319. See also 

Ferdinand and Isabella, 
union, 81 ; power, 82, loi ; en- 
force order, 8^, 84; and the 
hermandad, 85-87; councils, 
87-90 ; control of local affairs, 
90; resume crown domains, 
91; absorb military orders, 
92-94; weaken nobility, 94; 
conquer Granada, 94; and 
Navarre, 95 ; and Jews, 96-99 ; 
and Moors, 99-101; bibliog- 
raphy, 323. 

FevidaUsm, relics in France, 



119; patroonships, 121; 
Dutch survivals, 122. 

Florence, trade, 35, 37. 

Fonseca, Juan de, in colonial 
council, 89. 

France, development of in- 
stitutions, 114, 115; abso- 
lutism, 115-118; local gov- 
ernment, 1 1 6-1 18; ortho- 
doxy, 118; feudal privileges, 
119; trade activity, 123; 
chartered companies, 135- 
139 ; Richelieu's trade policy, 
156; Xew France Company, 
156-160; religious wars, 178; 
Huguenots, 178; sources,324; 
bibliography on trade, 325. 

Frank-pledge, 292, 293. 

Fur-trade, rise, 131; monopoly 
of Canada Company, 157. 

Gama, Vasco da, voyage, 8, 70, 

Genoa, Oriental trade, 27-30, 
36; war with Turks, 34; and 
Portugal, 62 ; no exploration, 
78; bibliography, 321. 

Geography, knowledge (1250), 
43, 44; effect of Asian 
journeys, 48; knowledge 
(1400), 50-55, 59; belief in 
round earth, 51-53; impor- 
tance of Portuguese dis- 
coveries, 74; bibliography, 
319. See also Explorations, 
Maps, Voyages. 

Germany, official religions, 170; 
sects, 171, 172; Anabaptists, 
172-175; effect of Refor- 
mation, 187; Schmalkaldic 
War, 188 ; peace of Augsburg, 
189 -191; Lutheranism rec- 
ognized, 189; local intoler- 
ance, 189, 190; ecclesiastical 
property, 189; Thirty Years' 
War, 1 91-194; renewal of 
peace of Augsburg, 194; Cal- 
vinism recognized, 194; suf- 
ferings in war, 194; wars of 
Loiiis XIV., 196; emigration 

to America, 196; decline of 
empire, 197; and settlement 
of America, 198; bibliog- 
raphy, 326. 

Gomez, Diego, voj-age, 68, 73. 

Gomez, Estevam, voyage, 6. 

Gonjalvez, Antam, slave-trade, 


Gonneville, de, voyage, 77. 

Good Hope, Cape of, discov- 
ered, 8, 60, 69; rounded, 70. 

Government. See Colonies, and 
counties by name. 

Governors, French provincial, 

Granada conquered, 94. 

Greenwood, Separatist, 222, 

Guinea coast reached, 68. 

Gustavus, Adolphus, in Thirty 
Years' War, 191; and West 
India Company, 191. 

Hanseatic League, 31, 125, 

Henry VIII. and Catholics, 
202, 203, 

Henry the Navigator, Prince, 
promotes geographical dis- 
coveries, 62, 63; motive, 63, 
64; personal equipment, 64, 
65; results, 65-68; and slave- 
trade, 67; death, 68; promo- 
tion of navigation, 72; sea- 
training school, 76; bibliog- 
raphy, 322. 

Hermandad in Spain, 84-87. 

High -constable, sphere, 290; 
appointment, 291. 

Highways, surveyor, 306. 

Holland. See Netherlands. 

Hudson, Henry, voyage, 7. 

Hudson Bay Company, search 
for northwest passage, 7. 

Hue and cry, 299. 

Huguenots, colonies, 178; in 
English colonies, 178. 

Hundred, loses importance 
(1600), 290; use, 290; high- 



constable, 290; in colonies, 
291; responsibility, 299. 

Independents. See Separa- 

Indies. See Asia, East Indies, 
West India. 

Inquisition, Spanish, 97, 98, 
177; in Netherlands, 182. 

Intendant, French, 117. 

Ireland, Scotch-Irish colony, 
236-238; English control, 
246-249; Parliament, 247; 
process of legislation, 248. 

Isabella. See Ferdinand. 

Italy, Oriental trade, 27-31; 
wars with Turks, 34; decline 
of cities, 38; intellectual 
leadership, 41; share in dis- 
coveries, 41-43; geographical 
knowledge (1400), 50, 51; 
explorers but no explorations, 
78; bibliography, 321. 

Jacome, map-maker, 72. 

James I., and Catholics, 208- 
212; and Gondomar, 212; 
and Puritans, 225; Ulster 
plantation, 236; on preroga- 
tive, 240; and Parliament, 
252-255; and civil rights, 
258; on rural gentry, 278. 

Japan, awakened interest, 49. 

Jews, converted, in Spain, 96- 
98; expelled, 99. 

John II., promotes exploration, 
68; and navigation, 72. 

John de Monte Corvino, jour- 
ney, 46. 

John de Piano Carpini, journey, 

Justices of the peace, qualifica- 
tions, 274, 275; compensa- 
tion, 274; social position, 
275; character, 276, 277; 
type of rural gentry, 277; 
appointment, 278; commis- 
sion, 278; exercise of powers, 
278; quarter-sessions, 279; in 

towns, 279; attendance at 
sessions, 279; quorum, 280; 
cusios rotulorum, 280; per- 
sons present at sessions, 281; 
length of sessions, 281; 
powers and duties, 282, 283; 
legislation concerning, 282; 
competence, 283; adminis- 
tration, 284; religious pros- 
ecutions, 284; special relief, 
285; control by Privy Coun- 
cil, 286, 287; Book of 
Orders, 287; instrument for 
"thorough" government, 2 87. 

Laud, and Catholics, 213; and 
Puritans, 226; arrest, 228. 

Legislation, Poynings's Act, 
247; process in Ireland, 248; 
English, on justice of the 
peace, 282. 

Levant, medieval trade, 25- 
29; decline, 32, 36. 

Lisbon, rise, 129, 133, 142. 

Local government, Spanish her- 
mandads, 84; Spanish, 90, 
110-112; French royal con- 
trol, 1 1 6-1 1 8 ; Dutch munici- 
pal, 121; English centralized, 
310-313 ; colonial choice, 313 ; 
bibliography on English, 
329-331, See also County, 
Hundred, Justices, Parish. 

London, rise, 129. 

Longitude, determination 
(1400), 58. 

Lord-lieutenant, origin, 270; 
dignity, 270; regular duty, 
271; residence, 271; irregular 
functions, 271; as custos 
rotulorum, 281. 

Louis XIV., despotism, 115; 
ravages in Germany, 196. 

Lutheranism, established, 170; 
and peace of Augsburg, 189, 

Madeira Islands, discovery, 
so, 65. 



Malacca, trade centre, 22. 

Malocello, Lancelot, voyage, 

Mandeville, Sir John, book, 48, 

Manor, use of term, 291; de- 
scribed, 292; obsolescent 
(1600), 292; in colonies, 293. 
See also Parish. 

Manufactures, Oriental, 17. 

Maps (1400), 53; portolani, 54; 
of Africa, 73; Valsecca (1434). 
73; Bianco (1448), 73; Mauro 
(1457), 74; bibliography, 319. 

Mary, Queen, religion, 203, 217. 

Mary Queen of Scots and 
English Catholics, 206. 

Maryland, Catholic origin, 210; 
religious condition, 214. 

Mauro, Fra, map (1457), 74. 

Mennonites, Anabaptists, 175. 

Merchants Adventurers, 140- 
142; bibliography, 328. 

Military orders absorbed in 
Spain, 92-94. 

Militia, duty of lord-lieutenant, 
271; parish arms and armor, 

Moluccas, spice islands, 12.^ 

Monarchy, Spanish absolutism, 
82-94; French absolutism, 
1 1 5-1 18; English, antiquity, 
240; prerogative, 240-243; 
exercise of powers, 243, 244; 
and Parliament, 252-258; 
and civil rights, 258-260. 

Monte Cor vino. See John. 

Montserrat settled, 210. 

Moors in Spain, 99-101; con- 
version or expiilsion, loi; 
Moriscos, loi. 

Munster revolt, 173. 

Navarre annexed to Spain, 

Navigation, portolani, 54; com- 
pass, 55-57; cross-staff and 
astrolabe, 57; ephemerides, 
58; chronometers, 58; prog- 

VOL. I. — 24 

ress under Prince Henry, 
72; quadrant, 73; improved 
ships, 75; improved skill, 77; 
Spanish Bureau of Pilots, 
89; bibliography, 320. 

Netherlands, confederation, 
121, 183; local government, 
121; feudal survivals, 122; 
trade activity, 123, 143, 
186; chartered companies, 
135-139; trade with Indies, 
142, 143; West India Com- 
pany, 152-156; character of 
revolt, 179; nominally Cath- 
olic (1520), 179; Protestant- 
ism, 179, 180, 185, 186; 
religious persecution, 180- 
183; petitions for toleration, 
181 - 183; image - breaking 
riots, 183; Alva in, 183; emi- 
gration, 183; revolt, 183- 
187; toleration, 183, 184; 
separation, 184; colonies, 187; 
bibliography, 325. 

New France Company, origin, 
156; territory and power, 
157; life, 157; commercial 
powers, 157; subsidy and 
privileges, 158; colonization, 
158; religion, 159; control 
over colony, 159; govern- 
ment, 160. 

New Netherland, commercial 
creation, 121; institutions, 
121, 122; and mother-coun- 
try, 154. 

New Sweden founded, 193. 

Nobility, Spanish, weakened, 
94; grades and character, 
107; French privileges, 119; 
Dutch privileges, 122; and 
Canada Company, 158. 

Northmen, discoveries without 
results, 44. 

Northwest passage, search, 6,7. 

Nova Zembla discovered, 8. 

Odoric de Pordenone, on 
spices, 13, 14; journey, 46. 



Paiva, Affonso de, explora- 
tion, 8. 
Parish, confusion of terms, 291 ; 
significance, 293; perambula- 
tion, 294-297; quality of 
officers, 297; duties of con- 
stable, 297-304; arms and 
armor, 301; church- war dens, 
304-307; gifts and property, 
305; securing funds, 305; 
surveyor of highways, 306; 
destruction of vermin, 306; 
poor, 307; vestry clerk, 307; 
other officers, 308; vestry, 
308-310; character of gov- 
ernment (1600), 312; bibliog- 
raphy, 330, 331. See also 
Local government. 

Parliament, English, opposi- 
tion to Catholics, 209, 212; 
Puritan control, 225; Com- 
monwealth, 228-231; con- 
trol of Ireland, 248; and the 
crown, 249, 252-257; or- 
ganization, 250; powers of 
Lords, 250, 252; election of 
Commons, 251; privileges 
and powers, 255 ; struggle for 
civil rights, 258-260; and 
centralized government, 310. 

Parliament, Irish, 247. 

Penn, William, Quaker, 234. 

Pennsylvania, attracts Ana- 
baptists, 176; Quaker im- 
migration, 236. 

Philip II. and Netherlands, 
181, 182. 

Piano Carpini. See John. 

Polo, Marco, in Asia, 46, 47; 
book, 47; effect, 47-49; '^^' 
fluence on Columbus, 49; 
bibliography, 319. 

Poor, control in England, 307. 

Pordenone. See Odoric, 

Portobello, trade, 134. 

Portolani, 54, 73. 

Portugal, search for Indian 
route, 8; nationality, 60; 
maritime alliances, 61; con- 

quers Algarves, 62; explora- 
tions, 62-70; slave-trade, 67, 
68; and Columbus, 69; con- 
trol in Indies, 70; geograph- 
ical iraportance of discover- 
ies, 74; improved ships, 75; 
pioneer explorer, 78; an- 
nexed by Spain, 95, 142; 
trade regulations, 132-134; 
bibliography, 322. See also 
Henry the Navigator. 

Precious stones, Oriental trade, 

Presbyterianism, Puritans fa- 
vor, 220; established in Eng- 
land, 230; Scotch-Irish, 237- 
239. See also Calvinism. 

Prester John, kingdom, 8, 51, 


Privy Council, members, 244; 
activities, 244; control of 
outlying districts, 245; of 
Ireland, 246-248; of justices 
of the peace, 286, 287; and 
poor law, 307. 

Protestantism. See Reforma- 

Puritanism, general name, 216; 
roots, 216; foreign develop- 
ment, 217; opposition to 
ceremonies, 218, 219; term 
of reproach, 219; opposition 
to episcopacy, 219, 225, 229; 
"Admonition to Parliament," 
219; favors Presbyterianism, 
220; asceticism , 221; con- 
formists, 221; Separatists, 
221-223; breach with An- 
glicanism, 223-227; Calvin- 
ists, 224; civil opposition, 
225; oppressed, 226, 285; and 
Laud, 226; colonization, 227; 
control, 228; church reforms, 
229; toleration, 230; bibliog- 
raphy, 329. 

Quadrant, first use, 73. 
Quakers, doctrine and rise, 
232; persecution, 233, 234; 



Barclay and Penn, 234; mo- 
tive for colonization, 235. 
Quarter-sessions. See Justices 
of the peace. 

Reformation, duty of Vir- 
ginia Company, 151; in- 
fluence on colonization, 168- 
170, 176, 210, 227, 235; 
German official creeds, 170; 
outlying sects, 171, 172; 
Anabaptists, 172-176; in- 
fluence in colonies, 176, 177; 
wars, 177; and Spain, 177; 
in France, 178; growth in 
Netherlands, 179, 180, 185; 
persecution there, 180-183; 
revolt, 183-187; toleration 
there, 183, 184; effect on 
Germany, 187; Schmalkaldic 
War, 188 ; peace of Augsburg, 
1 89-191; Thirty Years' War, 
191-194, 197; in England, 
200; sects in England, 231; 
bibliography, 326. See also 
Puritanism, and sects by 

Regiomontanus, ephemerides, 


Religion. See Puritanism, Ref- 
ormation, and sects by name. 

Representation, Dutch, 122; 
opposition to monopoly, 166. 
See also Parliament. 

Revenues, Spanish royal, 91-94, 

Richelieu, trade policy, 156; 
colonial religious policy, 178. 

Rogues in England, 300. 

Rubruquis. See William. 

Rural gentry, English, 277. 

St. James's staff, 57. 

Schmalkaldic War, 188. 

Schout, Dutch, 121. 

Schwenkf elders, 175. 

Scotch-Irish, in Ulster, 236, 
237; economic trouble, 237; 
persecution, 238; migration, 
338; bibliography, 329. 

Separatists, rise, 221-223; per- 
secution, 223; emigration^ 

Seville, colonial trade, 134; 
Protestants, 177. 

Sheriff, English, importance, 
261; dignity, 262; social re- 
quirements, 263 ; appoint- 
ment, 263; unpopular office, 
264; fees and expenses, 264; 
residence, 265; deputy, 265; 
county court, 266; at elec- 
tions, 267 'at assizes, 268; at 
quarter-sessions, 269, 281 ; ir- 
regular duties, 269; and ship- 
money, 270. 

Ships, Portuguese improve- 
ments, 75. See also Naviga- 

Slave-trade, beginning, 67, 68. 

Slavery in Spanish colonies, 113. 

Social condition, mediaeval lux- 
uries, 9-18. 

Somerset, duke of, and Catho- 
lics, 203. 

Sources, on period of dis- 
covery, 317; on Portuguese 
discoveries, 322; on Spain, 
323; on France, 324; on 
England, 327, 328; on local 
government, 330, 331. 

Spain, utilizes Portuguese ex- 
periences, 77; rise, 79, loi; 
personal union, 81; develop- 
ment of despotism, 82-94; 
hermandads, 84-87; royal 
councils, 87-90; local govern- 
ment, 90, 110; royal revenues, 
91-94; nobility, 94, 107-109; 
territorial unity, 94-96; racial 
and religious homogeneity, 
96, 177; and the Jews, 96- 
99; and the Moors, 99-101; 
Inquisition, 97, 98, 177; 
greatness (151 6), 102; de- 
cline, 103; monarchy, 104- 
107; courts and administra- 
tion, 105, 106; control of 
church, 106, 107; cortes, iio; 



and slavery, 113; trade reg- 
ulations, 133, 134; and Dutch, 
154, 163; English hatred, 163; 
sources, 323 ; bibliography on 
institutions, 323; bibliogra- 
phy on political history, 324; 
bibliography on economic con- 
ditions, 324. 

Spices, mediaeval luxury, 9-12; 
where grown, 12-14; in- 
creased demand, 38, 130. 

Suffrage, English (1600), 251. 

Sweden, chartered companies, 
135-139; in Thirty Years' 
War, 191, 193; West India 
Company, 1 91-193; colony, 

Taxation, English, assessment 
and collection, 290, 303, 305, 


Thirty Years' War, under Chris- 
tian IV., 191 ; Swedish period, 
191; truce, 191; French pe- 
riod, 193; peace, 193, 194, 
197; political struggle, 194; 
sufferings, 194; effects, 196- 
199; bibliography, 326, 

Tithing. See Parish. 

Town. See Parish. 

Trade, foreign and colonial, 
Prince Henry's interest, 64; 
inter - African (1415), 64; 
Portuguese slave, 67, 68; 
Portuguese East Indian, 70, 
132; revolution (1400-1600), 
124-132; period of individu- 
al effort, 124, 125; trading 
cities and leagues, 125; for- 
eign quarters and conces- 
sions , 126-128; influence 
of centralization, 128; decay 
of leagues, 128; centres shift- 
ed, 129; new products and 
markets, 130, 167; longer 
ventures, 131; new require- 
ments, 131; Portuguese na- 
tional control, 132, 133; 
Spanish national control, 133 ; 

individual patents, 135; rise 
of English-Dutch Indian, 142, 
143, 186 ; powers of chartered 
companies, 144, 149, 153, 
157; Richelieu's policy, 156; 
bibliography on European, 
320, 321; on Spanish, 324; 
on French, 325; on English, 
328. See also Chartered com- 
mercial companies. 

Trade, medieval Oriental, ob- 
jects, 9; spices, 10-14; pre- 
cious stones, 14-16; drugs, 16, 
17; manufactured goods, 17; 
European exports, 19; inter- 
Asian, 19; antiquity, 20, 21; 
routes, 22-27 ; European mer- 
chants, 27; foreign quarters, 
28, 29, 31; distribution in 
Europe, 29-31; decay, 31; 
Turkish barrier, 32-38; old 
routes and methods destroy- 
ed, 38; increased demand, 7,^', 
desire for new routes, 39; 
bibliography, 320. 

Treaties, Windsor (1386), 61; 
Pacification of Ghent (1576), 
184; Passau (1552), 189; 
Augsburg (1555), 1^95 ^^" 
newed (1648), 194; West- 
phalia (1648), 193, 197. 

Tristam, Nuno, voyage, 66. 

Turkish Empire, rise, 32; bar- 
rier to trade, 3 2 -3 8 ; wars with 
Venice, 34 ; bibliography, 321. 

Ulster plantation, 236-238; 

bibliography, 329. 
Union, Dutch confederation, 

121, 122, 184. 
Usselinx, William, and West 

India companies, 152-154, 


Valsecca, Gabriele de, por- 
tolano, 73. 

Venice, Oriental trade, 27-31, 
37; war with Turks, 34; and 
Portugal, 61 ; no explorations, 



78; decay, 129; bibliography, 

Vera Cruz, trade, 134, 

Verd, Cape, discovered, 66. 

Verrazzano, voyage, 6. 

Vestry, members, 308; powers, 
309; activity (1600), 309. See 
also Parish. 

Virginia Company, charter, 147 ; 
corporation, grantees, 148; 
territory, • 148, 149; com- 
mercial powers, 149; pohtical 
powers, 149, 150; privileges, 
150; duties, 151; expected to 
colonize, 151; religion, 151; 
government, 151. 

Vivaldi, Ugolino, voyage, 50. 

Voyages, incentive, 4-9, 40; 
Columbus, 4; Cabot, 5; Cor- 
tereal (1501), 6; for north- 
west passage, 6, 7; B. Diaz 
(i486),8,69;Gama (1496), 8, 
70; Malocello (1270), 50; 
Doria and Vivaldi (1291), 
50; Portuguese African, 65, 
66, 68-70; Eannes (1434), 
66; Tristam (1441), 66; D. 
Diaz (1445), 66; Cadamosto 
and D. Gomez (1460), 68; 
Cabral (1500), 70; lessons 

of Portuguese, 74-78; train- 
ing-school, 76; need of royal 
patronage, 78. 

Wapentake. See Hundred. 

Wars, Turkish- Venetian (1479) , 
35; Granada, 94; Navarre 
(15 1 2), 95; Mtinster revolt 
(1535), 173; Netherlands re- 
volt, 183-187; Schmalkaldic 
(1546), 188; Thirty Years', 
1 91-194; Palatinate (1688), 

West India Company, Dutch, 
origin, 152, 326; sphere and 
monopoly, 153; colonization, 
153, 154; and Spain, 154, 
163; political powers, 154; 
subsidy, 154; duties, 154; 
government, 155. 

West India Company, Swedish, 
origin, 191; charter, 192; 
and Thirty Years' War, 193; 
colony, 193. 

William of Orange, petition for 
toleration, 182; revolt, 183. 

William de Rubruquis, journey, 

ZwiNGLiANiSM established, 170 




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